Safe use of electricity

People generally are aware that electricity can be dangerous. However, many people still take risks that can lead to harm. This is why reminders on the need to use electricity safely are required.

Switches, power points and light fittings

Damaged switches, power points and light fittings are dangerous and must be replaced.  However, you should never replace fittings and switches yourself.  Use a licensed electrical contractor to replace them.  When painting, never remove switches or fittings.  Even when the switch is off, there are still live wires connected.  Use masking tape to keep paint off fittings and switches.

Working in the roof space

A roof space can be a very dangerous area.  Before you enter a roof space, switch off the electricity at the main switchboard (usually located in the meter box).

If you are working in the roof space:

  • Use a battery-powered lamp to light the work areas.
  • Do not disturb or alter any electrical junction boxes.
  • Keep thermal insulation away from light fittings.
  • If you see any damaged or bare wires, call your licensed electrical contractor immediately.

Click here to see more information about working in the roof space

Fuses, circuit breakers and RCDs

​Fuses or circuit breakers are found in the meter boxes of all homes and provide protection for the wiring in your home.  Always be extremely careful when replacing fuses or resetting circuit breakers.

RCDs installed in your meter box are designed to protect you from electrocution.  RCDs turn off the electricity very quickly if an earth leakage or fault is detected, for example, if you contact a live wire.  RCDs may also prevent fires by stopping current leaking directly to earth when a fault occurs.

Click here to see more information about RCDs

Power cords and extension cords

Damaged and wrongly connected cords and plugs are dangerous.  Although it is legal to connect your own plugs to flexible cords, a faulty connection can kill.  Ready-made extension cords will be safer and may even be cheaper.  For appliance cords, see your local service agent.


It is very dangerous to repair any kind of appliance yourself.  Faulty repairs may be deadly for you or the next person who uses the appliance.  Contact a licensed electrical contractor or a service agent.

Avoid hazards

Keep appliances away from known hazards, such as keeping electricity away from water.

Publication: Using electricity safely near water

Follow 'how-to-use' instructions

Appliance manufacturers are required to provide 'how-to-use' instructions with their products.  Always check that the instructions are provided and always read and follow the instructions before using the appliance.

Maintain appliances

While electricity appliances are very reliable they do need to be maintained to ensure they remain safe.  Read and follow the maintenance requirements provided by the manufacturer of the appliance.  Some instructions are simple, such as cleaning the appliance.  Others may require a licensed skilled technician to carry out the work.

Electrical Safety when drilling into walls

Concealed cables can pose a risk when drilling into walls. It is important to identify where electrical cables are located in wall cavities prior to drilling. Drill bits and driving nails or screws into walls can damage the insulation on a cable, which can result in electric shock or fire.

The location of power points, light switches and other fixed electrical equipment can help you locate electrical wires in wall cavities.

Before you begin drilling into walls it is important that you turn off the power where you are working.

If you do drill into an electrical cable, leave the power switched off and contact a licensed electrical contractor.

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