The faulty use of electricity results in a significant number of incidents every year. These incidents are often caused by unsafe, faulty, and often illegal installations.
The unfortunate reality is that often not enough attention is paid to the responsible use of electricity and the safety aspects associated with it.
According to Liza de Beer from Old Mutual Insure Retail Business, electrical fires and incidents can mostly be prevented. Key in the prevention of electrical fires and accidents is the thorough and regular inspection of electrical connections, preventative maintenance and actions during load shedding.
What can I do to prevent this from happening?
- A good starting point is to test the earth leakage circuit breaker once a month by pressing the test button. Unfortunately, this simple preventative measure is seldom applied in practice.
- Always ensure that electric distribution boards and power outlets are kept clean and free from dust and any other foreign material.
- Be on the lookout for:
- Loose connections and switches that do not work properly.
- Signs of overheating and/or discoloration.
- Frayed and damaged electrical cords.
- Inexplicable tripping of circuit breakers.
- Appliances that shock you when you touch them.
- Extension cords are not a permanent electric solution and should only be used on a temporary basis. Never run power cords of appliances under carpets or rugs and make sure no furniture is standing on power cords.
- Never overload wall plugs or power points, as they can only handle a given amount of electrical current. Its misuse by connecting too many appliances to it not only damages the components in the circuit when it overheats and melts, but it can also cause a fire.
- Ensure that all power sources are switched off during load shedding or a power outage. It is easy to forget to turn off or unplug appliances when the power goes off unexpectedly. A hair dryer on a bed, heaters, or a stovetop that is not switched off and left unattended, can lead to a fire when the power is switched on again.
- If candles are used during load shedding, ensure that they are positioned correctly and in the correct containers so that they cannot fall over. Candles must also not be left unattended. Furthermore, pay attention to where candles and other flammable objects are placed.
- Be careful when drilling holes in walls when you are not sure where the power cables run through the wall.
- When working with power tools such as electric angle grinders, drills, and welding machines, make sure all connections are safe. Never use these tools in wet/damp conditions or areas.
- At the initial stage of a fire, make use of extinguishers and fire blankets that are suitable and effective for extinguishing electrical fires.
A professional is just a phone call or click away
Contact a professional if you are uncertain about the safety of an electrical connection or supply, or the use of fire extinguishers and fire blankets.
“Protect yourself, your family, workers, and visitors on your farm by acting pro-actively,” Liza concludes.
This article is intended to provide information and not any advice or legal advice. Contact your insurance broker or advisor, or visit our website at www.ominsure.co.za for information on our agricultural product solutions.
All products are underwritten by Old Mutual Insure. Old Mutual Insure Limited is a licensed FSP and Non-Life Insurer.