There are normally many potential electrical hazards that one is subjected to while doing an electrical installation. There is therefore need to take a lot of care in order to reduce the risk of any injuries or even the fatal result of death.
The following are the 12 basic golden safety rules to adhere to in order to reduce the risks;
· Everything is live!
Every electrical device is to be handled with a lot of caution as if they were live wires. Neglect kills! Once every wire you handle is considered energized, there will e a high possibility of being electrocuted. The myth that it is only live wires that are dangerous remains a misconception. There is a possibility of confusing the wires. Treat all of them as live.
· Power source OFF.
This ought to be the first rule for it is the first thing that one should do before handling any electrical equipment. It is the only way that makes you sure that safety is guaranteed. They power should only be switched on when during ’testing’ when one is at a safe position. Otherwise, everything should be kept off during the entire process.
· Insulation is key.
All tools used during the installation must have ‘safe’ handles. The handles should be made of materials that cannot not conduct electricity. All the tools must thus be insulated at the handle.
· Mind your hands.
The hand is the very first tool used in the electrical installation process. The hand is highly engaged in the process. Before considering the type of tool to be used and their safety, one should ensure that his/her hands are ‘safe’. This is done by ensuring that the hands are dry since wet hands would conduct electricity. This could be enhanced by wearing gloves, shoes and some clothes. The gloves must be non-conductive. This is not a onetime thing and should always be taken into consideration. Remember it is the hand that is the primary point of contact between you and the equipment.
· Use one hand.
Science explains how current flows through the chest cavity. This is the region in the body where electric current flows the fastest. The use of two hands would thus enhance the flow since, the chest is logically between the two hands. Handle the tools using a single hand and keep the other one off ensuring it’s not in contact with any conductive material on the other hand. Statistics have it that most cases of electrical shock occur when one uses both hands when handling electrical.
· Where is the installation done?
One should know the environment he/she is to work in before the work day, evaluate the feasibility of the area and decide whether to take the installation job or not. It is not safe to use most electrical tools in somewhat cold rooms or any other area where there is contact with water. If is unavoidable, ensure the tool is hung on the wall of the room. Most professionals have their own vertical panels which helps in mounting such tools. This counters the effect of any possible contact with the moisture in the place. However, it is safer to avoid such places while doing the electrical installation.
· Helping a workmate.
You will probably not always be working alone during the installation. Should a friend be in a compromising contact with an energized live conductor during the exercise, whatever action you take in an attempt to help will either rescue the situation or make the matters worse. You never touch such a person or the equipment they were using. Do not even be in any contact with their cords. The first step you ought to take is disconnection of the whole power source especially from the circuit breaker. If the switch is not easily accessible, one is required to unplug the affected plug. A leather belt is recommended for the latter purpose. Remember to be composed as any rush can actually be counterproductive to what you are trying to do.
· Notice ‘tingles’ early.
Neglect is a vice during any electrical installation process. Be very keen and observe everything as they happen with no assumptions or generalized thoughts since the right move at the right time helps a lot. Any tingles from the equipment MUST be treated with a lot of suspicion. Such cases should be reported as early as they occur. Repairs should be done before the installation process progresses. Verify that the repairs are done before resuming the job. Remember, only the paranoid are safe.
· Consider the condition of all the capacitors.
Before carrying out any electrical installation process, all capacitors must be checked and properly drained to ensure safety. To prevent all possible risks of electrical shock, draining the capacitors alone would not help much. Go ahead and ensure the short circuits are kept on the terminals. This should happen throughout the installation process.
· You are never too smart.
Remember most electrical casualties are normally accidents. This implies that all instructions should be followed to the latter. One should not meddle into a colleague’s work unless instructed so. This is extended even to their tools and equipment. Touch yours as they touch theirs- should there be change to that, let it be well communicated.
· Beware of the location of everything.
All conductors and contacts should be well enclosed. This is a knowledge that should be shared to all. This ensure that there are no accidents associated with coming in contact with certain hidden conductors. The same applies on an always-basis. If the locations cannot be well established, then one should be very careful during the installation process for these contacts may be anywhere every time.
· Your equipment.
The good condition of your equipment never guarantees safety. Flammable substances should never be near them. Storage of such substances, more so liquids, near the equipment makes it as dangerous as faulty ones. Remember, your equipment is your responsibility and should anything happen to them, you are likely to be on the losing end. Always stay within the brief and look out for your colleagues in the line of duty.