Safety Switches Save Lives

Queensland Government calls for safety switches to be installed on every circuit in the home

The Treasurer and the Minister for Industrial Relations have launched a campaign aiming to educate the public about the importance of having multiple electrical safety switches on the home.

Safety switches have been mandatory in new homes on power point circuits since 1992 and they must also be installed on power point circuits when older homes are sold or rented, however, they also pointed out that “in the last six years alone there have been six electricity-related deaths in Queensland homes and these tragedies may have been prevented had a safety switch been operating on all circuits.

One important distinction to make is that circuit breakers and safety switches are not the same thing and perform very different functions in your home. Circuit breakers are designed to protect electrical equipment from damage caused by power surges, but safety switches are designed to save lives.

A safety switch is designed to turn the power off in a fraction of a second when leakage of current is detected. This can be caused by faulty appliances, accidentally drilling into a live cable, or a child tampering with a power point on the wall.

Some homes indeed do already have a safety switch installed which can give residents a false sense of security as their safety switch may only be connected to one of the multiple circuits which run throughout their home.

“We want people to have more comprehensive protection from electric shock by installing safety switches on all circuits in their home including lights, air-conditioning, oven, hot water and pool equipment, even if they’re on a separate tariff.”

There was no beating around the bush in terms of what impact this would have on the safety of residents… “This inexpensive action will protect your family and save lives.”

Mr Pitt said that the safest way to find out if you are protected on all the circuits in your home is to call a licensed electrician.