Sproat Lake, Vancouver Island, BC

Safety When Working with Power

Safety When Working with Power

Voltmeter

Four simple and important tips to help you avoid getting a shock while working with electrical systems.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Take off jewelry. Remove watches, rings, and necklaces which can suddenly become a connection between potential electrical sources. 
  4. 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.