Safety switches save lives
Safety switches are designed to save lives. Having them installed and testing them regularly is a small investment in money and time. It will provide the best possible protection for you and your family against serious injury or death. Something as simple as a child removing toast from a toaster with a knife, a faulty phone charger, or a handyman mounting something to a wall can turn deadly without the protection of working safety switches.
It is easy to forget that our everyday appliances can cause us harm. Faulty wiring, faulty appliances or accidents with electricity can be fatal. When you get an electric shock, electricity usually flows through your body to earth. It can flow through your heart, interfering with the electric impulses, which keep it beating, causing the heart to stop. Essentially the longer the current flow & the larger the current, the greater the probability of heart fibrillation caused by the muscles surrounding the heart pulsing at different rates to the heart.
But how can you monitor an electrical current you cannot see, or watch every member of your family with every appliance in the house? Safety switches monitor the flow of electricity through a circuit. They detect a problem as soon as the current leaves the circuit, and should turn off the power within 0.03 of a second. That's quick enough to save your life, and help prevent damage to your property or a devastating fire.
As little as 250mA can be enough leakage from a faulty installation to generate enough heat to start a fire. Many electrical fires start by earth leakage current due to faulty wiring or equipment. A conventional protection device will not detect fault current in this very low range, where as correctly working safety switches trip at 30mA greatly reducing the risk of an electrical fault becoming an electrical fire.
Even though it's mandatory in Australia for safety switches to be installed on all power point & lighting circuits, shockingly 40% of Australian homes still have no safety switch protection whatsoever. Of the 60% that do have them installed, most have an inadequate number and many don't work in the required time, or don't work at all!
Safety switches can only save lives if they are in working order
Safety switches do fail over time, and therefore the Australian Standards require they be tested regularly.
6 month test - 'Pushbutton Test'
This simple DIY test is essential maintenance. It checks the mechanical switch action and frees the contacts which helps keep the switch from sticking over time. However it does not test for 'Trip Time' which could be the difference between life and death.
2 year test - 'Trip Time Test'
This test is a measurement of how long it takes the safety switch to respond when a dangerous situation occurs. This essential test, as required every 2 years per Australian Standards AS/NZS 3760, is the only test that ensures your Safety Switch is working correctly, and needs to be performed by a licensed electrician with specialised calibrated equipment.
Electrician Batemans Bay