Electrical safety

Advice for how you can stay safe while using electricity both inside and outside your home.

For your homeElectrical safety

Shocks and tingles

If you feel a shock or a tingle from a tap or showerhead in your home, do not touch or enter that area again and call us immediately to report it:

  • Powercor 13 24 12
  • CitiPower 13 12 80

Experiencing a shock or a tingle could mean there is an electrical wiring issue in or near your home that might lead to a more dangerous situation. Poor internal wiring or faulty appliances are the main causes of electric shock.

You’ll need to get a registered electrical contractor (qualified electrician) to investigate.

To reduce the hazard, never use damaged electrical appliances and ensure that any electrical work is performed by a qualified electrician.

How to safely help someone experiencing a severe electric shock:

  • Call 000 immediately.
  • Turn off the power at the mains supply point on the switchboard before providing assistance.
  • In cases where a victim needs to be immediately removed from an electrical source, push them free with a wooden broom handle or your foot, if you are wearing shoes.
  • Take extra care if the incident occurs in or near water as water can become electrically charged.

For less severe electric shock injuries, see your doctor for a health check.

Electrical fires

Electrical fires can be caused by incorrectly installed wiring or defective appliances. Please ensure only qualified electricians work on the wiring for your property.

If you’re finding that fuses blow or safety switches operate frequently, wiring systems and appliances should be inspected.

To reduce the risk of electrical fires, make sure you service appliances regularly and throw out any with visible defects like damaged cords. Electric blankets in particular should be checked frequently.

If an electrical fire occurs, then never attempt to extinguish it with water as this will put you at risk of electrocution. Instead, respond to a small electrical fire by turning off power to the source and using a fire blanket or dry chemical fire extinguisher.

For larger electrical fires, immediately leave the property and dial 000.

Safety switches

Safety switches work by monitoring the flow of electricity through a circuit and detecting problems as soon as the current leaves the circuit. If a problem is detected a safety switch will shut off the electricity fast enough to save a life or prevent costly damage.

In Victoria it is mandatory to install safety switches in new premises and premises where major renovations occur. We urge customers to install one of the three safety switches available. The Energy Safe Victoria website provides more information on safety switches or see the summary below.

Switchboard mounted safety switches

Switchboard mounted safety switches provide efficient protection for your entire home. They are installed by registered electricians in the same location as your meters and circuit breakers or fuses.

Appliance safety

Electrical appliances and infrastructure are found both inside and outside the home.

See below for safety tips for a wide range of appliances or for when around electricity indoors or outside.

Safety tips for inside the home
  • Powerpoints: Put child safe plugs on unused powerpoints. Always turn powerpoints off before inserting or removing a plug.
  • Toasters: Turn off toasters at the powerpoint before trying to remove stuck toast.
  • Hairdryers: Never touch electrical appliances or switches with wet hands or feet.
  • Entertainment: Avoid using adaptors and powerboards for more than they are designed to support.
  • Leads: Place extension leads along a wall – never under a rug where it will build up heat.
  • Electric blankets: Check all cords, don’t piggyback on power boards and when storing – roll don’t fold. Folding can damage the heating element.
  • Electric heaters: Don’t dry your clothes on them and don’t leave them in places where they can be knocked over. Make sure heaters are turned off before you go to bed or when you leave the room.

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