The Importance of having Safety Switches at Home

Safety switches are popular throughout Australia to ensure people’s electrical safety in their homes. For safety switch installation it is essential and highly recommended to prevent risks of electric injuries, accidents, and deaths. This also shows the government’s sincerity and care for its citizens when it comes to electrical safety. Hence, knowing the reason behind such care is to have a piece of adequate knowledge concerning safety switches. Furthermore, the goal of discussing their importance is to make people appreciate the benefits of  having them at home.

There are reports of 15 deaths per year, according to Master Electronics America (MEA), and 300 hospitalized due to electrical accidents. Since the mandate of installation of safety switches in the country in 1991, only 60% of households have their safety switches installed with 30% on power outlet circuits and 30% on the light circuits, while 40% of them remain unprotected. These statistics prove that there may be a confusion with some citizens with regards to the functions of electrical devices, especially compared to a circuit breaker.

What is a Safety Switch?

Safety Switch, known as Residual Current Circuit Breakers (RCCBs) or Residual Current Devices (RCDs) is a common use electrical device in Australia for at least 20 years.[1] It serves as a safety response in detecting leakage to earth by switching off the electrical supply as fast as 0.3 seconds, protecting people from electrocution.

There are different kinds of safety switches. One is the Switchboard-mounted safety switches. This kind is a requirement by means of law, installing power and lighting circuits in homes. It is located beside the circuit breaker in a switchboard. Another type is the Combination safety switch and circuit breakers in switchboards which costs cheaper than the standard one, but it can also provide safety for both people and properties.

What makes a Safety Switch different from Circuit Breakers?

Safety switches and circuit breakers may look similar as they are put alongside in a switchboard. However, they do have a major difference in function, specifically to what they protect. Safety Switches protect people’s lives and prevent serious damage to their health, while Circuit Breakers protect circuit wiring and home appliances from short circuits, circuit overloads, and ground fault surges. This is to prevent electrical fires, but they do not protect people from electrocution.

How Does a Safety Switch Work?

Safety switch monitors the electricity flow through a circuit. It disconnects automatically after detecting current leakage to earth as little as 30 milliseconds or not more than 300 milliseconds to stop the flow of electricity to a person in contact with the electrical circuit. This is to prevent risks of electrical shocks, injury, and death. The person may still feel the current for a moment, but it will not lead to a serious injury. That is why the safety switch was designed to protect people and provides a quicker response when it comes to detecting electrical faults. However, a safety switch can protect people if it works properly. Therefore, it should be tested every three months to ensure that it is still functioning properly and to avoid nuisance tripping.[3]

Reasons why safety switch is important:

To Protect Your Home and Family

This is the top reason for every family to have a safety switch in their homes, especially for those who have children who do not have a single knowledge concerning electrical safety. It is best to keep our loved ones safe from danger, including our homes from further electrical accidents. This is the primary goal of the government for preventive measures.

To have a second layer of protection to every home

To have a circuit breaker installed is good to protect one’s home appliances from damage and from the probability of causing a fire. However, it is best to have safety switches as second-layer protection, not only towards the appliances but also to ensure family safety. Therefore, we highly recommend installing it in every circuit in your home.