Working around electricity can be dangerous. The current running through most of the electrical devices around the home carries enough charge to cause serious injury, including death. If you are working around electricity, you need to know the proper safety precautions. Taking these precautions can prevent a serious injury and could even save your life.
Cut the Power
Whatever the nature of your electrical work, whether it is rewiring a light switch or installing new electrical wiring to a room, you must cut the power to work area before proceeding. Cutting the power is the only surefire way you will protect yourself. Do not chance working around electricity without cutting the power. With the power cut, no electricity will be flowing into the work area and you will not get shocked.
Keep Area Dry, Use Proper Tools
Even with the power off, you should do your best to keep everything dry, especially your hands. Water conducts electricity. Even a little moisture on your hands, including sweat, could be enough to cause electricity to arc from its source and to flow into your body. In addition, reduce the amount of metal on your body. Wear rubber-soled shoes and rubber gloves. Avoid unnecessary metal accessories, such as necklaces and rings.
In addition, make sure that your tools are made specifically to work with electricity. The handles should be made of rubber and other non-conducive materials. Any ladders should be made out of wood or plastic. You should also have a voltometer and an electrical detector handy. These tools will ensure that the power is off when handling electrical work and that the proper amount of electricity is flowing through the circuit when the project is done. Finally, inspect all wires and plugs to make sure that they are properly coated and that they are working properly. Exposed wiring or bent plugs can pose an electrical hazard.
Whether you need a permit or not will depend on the rules in your county and state. Typically, however, you need an electrical work permit prior to starting your job. These can be obtained through your city or county government. Acquire the permit before you start the work. The permit will help ensure that work is being done in a safe manner.
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