Safety When Working with Power
Four simple and important tips to help you avoid getting a shock while working with electrical systems.
- Disconnect the power. Unplug or switch off the device. Disconnect your battery if it is a vehicle. Once you have done this, use a voltmeter to confirm that there is no power in and around the wires or cables you are about to work with.
- Give it time to dissipate. In some cases, there can be residual amounts of energy stored within a device or appliance. For instance, a capacitor is a component found in many devices that charges under load and holds that charge even when shut off from any source. Giving energy time to dissipate is one way – and the easiest way – to make sure that there is no power present. You can also connect a load, such as a light bulb, to it in order to bring whatever amount of power is left down to nothing.
- Take off jewelry. Remove watches, rings, and necklaces which can suddenly become a connection between potential electrical sources.
- Work with one hand. Electricity needs to flow through things and will take the path of least resistance. If you touch a positively charged wire with one hand, and then you touch a ground wire or metal associated with the system with the other, you just gave the electrons a path to flow through. That’s when you get a shock. Avoid using both hands in a situation where shutting off the power is not an option. If you find yourself in this type of position and it is in high power, seek out a professional. Don’t attempt it yourself.