The risk of an electric shock causing serious injury or death is greater outdoors than indoors, due to possible wet conditions and the physical contact with the ground.
The Residual Current Devices
An RCD is a potentially life-saving device that protects against electric shock and reduces the risk of electrical fires. Without it, if you cut through an electrical lead, a simple job like mowing the lawn could kill you. Any socket that may be used to plug in a lawnmower, hedge trimmer or other power tool should have RCD Protection.
If your outdoor socket-outlet is not protected by an RCD, purchase a good quality plug-in RCD adaptor from a reputable dealer, as a temporary measure. The safest option is to get a registered installer to install permanent RCD protection to all socket-outlets.
Note: The RCDs need to be tested quarterly by the users of the electrical installation. Regular testing is important, to ensure correct operation of the RCD mechanism in the event of a fault.
Outdoor Flexible cables and connectors
For your electrical safety outdoors, the cables and connections should be:
- of a good quality and be purchased from a reputable retailer;
- suitable for outdoor use;
- suitable for the equipment used;
- free from damage and kept clean;
- used in accordance with manufacturers’ instructions;
- switched off when carrying out pond cleaning;
- located to prevent anyone tripping over the cable;
- routed to prevent them being damaged e.g. stepped on or cut;
- kept as dry as possible.
If any damage is found, unplug from the electrical supply immediately, and have the damaged items replaced. Unplug the garden equipment before working on it, for example, to remove a jam from the hedge trimmer blades or unblock grass cuttings from the lawn mower.
Unwinding the extension cable from the reel
Extension cables that are coiled up on a reel can overheat, causing damage to the cable, which in extreme cases can result in fire. Such extreme damage may also introduce a risk of electric shock, which could cause injury or prove to be fatal.
Tip: A fully unwound cable reduces the risk of it overheating and reduces the risks of fire or electric shock.
Electrical Safety Outdoors, in Wet conditions
Do not use electrical equipment when it is raining or in areas that are being watered/under the splashing of water. The risk of serious injury and even death from electric shock, are far higher in wet conditions than in the dry. Ground conditions may also be slippery in the wet, which increases the risk of an accident.
Tip: Using electrical equipment in the garden in dry conditions reduces the risk of an accident.
Electrical Safety in Garden lighting
Damaged or incorrectly installed outdoor lighting installations may create a risk of electric shock, resulting in serious injury or even death. Make sure you buy good quality electrical outdoor lighting equipment from a reputable retailer:
- make sure outdoor lighting fittings are weatherproof;
- ensure lighting fittings used for water features are waterproof;
- install it using a competent electrician in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions;
- check for damaged lighting fittings, cables and connections;
- remove leaves and dirt from lighting fittings.
Note: If any faults are found, switch off the electrical supply immediately, and have them repaired by a qualified registered installer.
If you are unsure about an installation, need advice or assistance please contact PC Electricals. We also have more electrical safety tips on our website www.pcelectricals-dorset.co.uk Facebook or Twitter pages.