From its name alone everyone can recognise there’s a real value in having a safety switch. But the reality is there can often be misunderstandings surrounding safety switches. This is even the case sometimes among people and businesses that have used them before.
This can make it harder to understand why maintaining a safety switch should be done, and how to do so. So let’s look now at what’s important to understand when it comes to maintaining a safety switch.
What is a Safety Switch Exactly?
A safety switch – AKA a residual current device – is a switch that helps protect the residence and its inhabitants against the risk of electrocution and fire that can result from electric faults. A switch can cut off in under 1 second in the event it detects danger. Safety switches operate by constantly monitoring the flow of electricity to the switchboard’s wires, and accordingly will cut the power off if a problem is detected in that flow.
What May Go Wrong With a Safety Switch
Using the correct safety switch is essential. Just as safety switches and circuit breakers are not the same devices, if the wrong safety switch is in use it could be ineffective. This is especially dangerous because it won’t shut down the power in the event of a problem. Yet also because people inside the premises may fail to register concern and take prompt action regarding a safety issue, if they incorrectly think the installed safety switch is operational.
Why a Safety Switch Isn’t the Same as a Circuit Breaker
One of the common misunderstandings surrounding safety switches is the difference between them and a circuit breaker. In a general sense there’s some overlap between what each device does, given they can both enhance safety and minimise damage. But they’re certainly not the same thing, and a failure to appreciate their differences can pose a hazard to both people and a premises alike. Simply put, a safety switch looks to protect people from electrical accidents, whereas a circuit breaker by contrast seeks to protect electrical wiring.
Is it Actually Mandatory to Have a Safety Switch?
Australian law requires a safety switch must be installed in residential switchboards once certain criteria have been met. Although there is some variation across Australia concerning when a safety switch must be installed – for example some states only require a safety switch is installed in an existing home after it is sold – all new homes do require safety switches be installed. For businesses it might not be mandatory to have a safety switch but it’s prudent to have one just the same – particularly because any harm a person encounters at the premises that a safety switch could have prevented could be in breach of the businesses’ duty of care.
Maintaining a Safety Switch
The best way to maintain a safety switch is to ensure regular consultation with a trusted electrician. Although safety switches have been designed with reliability and durability in mind, it’s always wise to have them regularly checked. Doing this can help provide peace of mind that the safety switch is operating as it should.
A Smart Idea for Safety
Having a safety switch is a smart idea. Maintaining a safety switch is also smart practice. Any business that installs a safety switch and regularly maintains it helps maximise the safety of their workplace.