What is a safety switch?

Topics: Electrical Engineering, electrical safety

Ravindra Ambegaonkar
Author : Ravindra Ambegaonkar on December 16, 2020

Everyone wants to create a safer environment, be it your office or any other establishment.  A safety switch gives you the highest possible level of protection for everyone close to and working on electrical equipment.

Safety switches serve multiple purposes, right from disconnecting equipment and heavy machinery from its power source when a fault arises to safely disconnect for maintenance and testing to emergency stoppage in the event of a complication. You can find a great range of them at RS Components.

So, what is a safety switch and why is it so vital to install these components in your electrical system? Let us find out in detail.

What is a safety switch?

A safety switch is a device that keeps an eye on the current passing through your wiring system. It detects alterations in the power, cutting it off if there is a variation due to leakage or overload. This helps to avoid possible threats like electrical shocks, fire, or other injuries to your employees or family members.

How does a safety switch work?

Once a safety switch senses a difference in the electrical circuit, it automatically switches off the power supply. For instance, if somebody comes in contact with an exposed wire and the power passes through the body, the safety switch detects it and powers off immediately, saving the person from getting electrocuted. Take a note that safety switches only act as a back-up and may not protect all wiring and prevent all electric shocks.

Types of safety switch

Depending on the protection they provide there are three types of safety switches available. They are:

  • Switchboard safety switches or meter box mounted safety switches are primarily installed to protect electrical circuits, electrical appliances, and extension cords. They must be installed by a licenced electrician
  • Powerpoint safety switches protect appliances and power cords plugged into the switch. It is important to install the powerpoint safety switches at the first powerpoint near the switchboard.
  • Portable safety switches are, as the name suggests, protective devices that are used for power tools and other electrical appliances that do not have any access to the switchboard or powerpoint safety switches and have to directly plug the equipment into them.

safety switch

Why is a safety switch so vital for business?

So, what are the benefits of installing safety switches in your electrical system?

  • Protection for your loved ones
  • Protection for your equipment 
  • Prevent short circuit and overloading
  • Detects faulty appliances
  • Helps to identify damaged wiring

Testing a safety switch

It is mandatory to test your safety switches regularly. This is to make sure that the safety switch is working appropriately. To test your safety switch, open your switchboard and press the ‘Test’ button on each safety switch. The power will trip off if the safety switch is working properly. 

As per the Australian Government regulations, safety switches must be installed in all homes and offices whether you are installing a new system or upgrading it. 

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