How to Prevent Electrical Shock

Tips for Avoiding Electrical Shock when Working on Electrical Wiring

By Mark J. Donovan

Working with electricity can be dangerous as electrical shocks can injure and even kill you. Consequently it is important that you exercise some important safety precautions to prevent electrical shock. Chief amongst them is to first turn off power to the electrical circuit you plan on working on at the main circuit breaker panel. Furthermore, place a piece of electrical tape over the turned off circuit breaker to warn anyone that you have purposely turned power off to the circuit.

In addition to turning power off to the electrical circuit at the main circuit panel, it is also important to confirm that the power is indeed off at the electrical box itself using a neon bulb tester or multimeter.

Occasionally more than one circuit breaker can be feeding power to an electrical outlet or light switch, and thus to prevent electrical shock it is just as important to verify power is off at the electrical box itself.

If you need to use a ladder when working on electrical wiring never use an aluminum ladder, as aluminum is a good conductor of electricity. Use a wooden or fiberglass ladder instead.

Always wear a pair of good rubber soles shoes as rubber is also a poor conductor of electricity.

When it comes to tools, always use screwdrivers and pliers that have insulated handles.

Avoid working on electrical circuits in wet or damp areas. Where it cannot be avoided wear rubber boots and gloves. Also, make sure your hands and gloves are dry prior to inserting your hands into an electrical box or appliance.

Electrical Box Extender

Finally, when working in a wet or damp area, make sure any electrical power tools are plugged into Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) outlets. GFCI’s are designed to quickly turn power off to a circuit if they sense the slightest loss of current in the circuit, thus preventing life threatening electrical shock.

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