How To Be Safe When Working With Electricity

No mater your skill, no matter the project, everyone needs to be cautious and follow safety precedures when working with or around electricity. If you are a new do-it-yourselfer, here are several safety tips that you should follow to keep yourself, and others, safe while you complete your project:

Shut off the power – this is not just a “sometimes” rule. You should ALWAYS shut off the power when you are working on any type of electrical project. Go to the breaker box and shut off the power to either the whole house or the part of the house that you are working in. (For older homes, you might need to pull the fuse completely out to shut off the power.) Do not just trust the schedule that some breaker boxes have listed as to when the electrical current is hot on that part of the house, shut off the power anyway. Once you have shut off the power, go back into that part of the house and try several light switches or other electrical items to make sure that the electricity is completely off before you begin to work. If you have other people working with you, it is a good idea to tape a small sign to the breaker box about where you are working and not to turn that breaker back on.

Wet floors are a “no-no” - Do not ever stand on a wet floor or structure when working with electricity. Even if the power is off, you can still get a nasty shock by standing on a wet floor while trying to work with any type of electrical circuit. If you have been out in the rain, or your clothes are wet, be sure to change before you undertake any type of electrical project as well. This can also save you from a nasty shock.

Don’t touch anything metal – When you’re working with electricity, don’t stand on or touch anything metal. This can also provide you with a nasty shock, even if you have the electricity off. So, be sure that you are not touching, leaning against, or standing on anything that is made of metal.

Get a permit – Electrical projects require that you get a permit before undertaking them. This is to keep you safe, as well as let the city or town know who is working on the electrical items in your home or business.

Be careful around service panels – No matter if you have turned off the electricity, a couple of the wires in a service panel can still remain LIVE. Don’t ever touch the service wires, and make sure that you don’t work near them with any type of metal ladder or metal tools. If you think that the problem you need to fix is in this panel, call a professional.

Make sure you have the right tools – When working with any type of electrical project, make sure that you have tools with rubber or plastic handles that are insulated. Wear shoes with rubber or non-conducting soles to prevent any type of conductivity. You should also wear safety glasses or goggles to help protect your eyes.

Run a test – before you consider the project completed, make sure that you run a test. Turn the electricity back on and test your project to ensure that it works properly. Never just assume that it’s ok.

Remember, if you are ever in doubt about a project, call a professional to do it for you. Don’t attempt something that you are not sure of or that is too complicated just to save money. Sometimes this can cost you more in the long run, either by causing damage or fires or personal injury.

WARNING: When working with electricity, it is always best to completely turn off any electrical circuits that you will be working with before you begin your work. Always follow all safety precautions and directions on the packaging of electrical products that you are working with to prevent injury.