Many Do-it-Yourselfers perform carpentry, gardening, painting, and even plumbing. But when it comes to home wiring, fear keeps us from completing projects that increase the value of our home, and give us strong personal satisfaction from the beautiful upgrades we could be performing.
Electrical safety is without question, the most important aspect of any electrical work. And just like anything we do in life, fear comes from ‘not knowing’. Imagine what you could accomplish if you could perform home wiring safely and confidently. Imagine saving thousands of dollars over the years, if you could do-it-yourself!
All you need to do is to take a common sense approach, and your undivided attention. When doing electrical work, do not be distracted by anything and not be in hurry to get it done. Always plan out your project accordingly and allow plenty of time to finish your project or at least if you have to leave, find a suitable stopping point, put everything away and come to it at a later time.
Anything can conduct electricity if the conditions are right even with an insulator (A conductor allows the flow of electrons, and an insulator resists the flow of electrons). When you turn off the power to a breaker, tape the breaker off. A contractor is required to lock it off by OSHA rules and tag it out. The contractor needs to put red tags and devices to lock the breaker to prevent it from being turned on. (If you have your panel cover off, remember that even when you turn breakers off, there are still energized components in the panel itself!).
In your home, at minimum put tape over the breaker, then close your service panel cover, and put a piece of masking tape across the cover, or a sign that says, “Do Not Open,” or “Danger”, or something similar, so anybody who approaches that panel will immediately know what’s going on. Furthermore, inform your family members that you are doing electrical work so that others are completely aware that you are working on the electrical system.
When you are working with the fuse panels, always use only one hand to remove it. Put your other hand behind your back on in your pocket. You should develop this practice while working on fuse panels. This will save your life if you accidentally grab a circuit with both hand and it will create a path for electricity to flow through your heart. With one hand behind, the electricity can still flow through one hand and one foot, but damage to the heart is dramatically minimized.
Another important piece of electrical safety is tool use. It is well worth spending more money to purchase quality hand tools and other tools you will use for electrical work. For instance, Good wire strippers will prevent you from nicking or skinning the wires. Good screwdrivers will prevent slipping out of screw heads or rounding them out. Good quality tools will make you feel good, improve your confidence and also improve the quality of your workmanship. So don’t skimp on good tools, they will last you a lot longer than cheaper tools.
In summary; When we talk about safety we’re talking about good, old-fashioned common sense, and taking personal responsibility for your own safety.
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