North Shore Electrician’s Guide to Safety Switches

Electricity poses a significant risk to us all, as the properties of electricity allow it to deliver a strong and sometimes lethal zap. Therefore, the installation of an adequate number one of safety switches in our home should be a priority.

In this article, we will be sharing with you all you need to get started using a safety switch.

What is a Safety Switch?

Safety switches are devices that are installed in circuits or as replacements to power points to offer protection against electrical hazards, such as electric shocks. They observe the flow of electricity in the house to detect whenever there is an anomaly, and if there is, they immediately turn off the electricity to protect us.

Safety switches also protect appliances that are connected to power points, performing the work of a circuit breaker on occasion.

Are Safety Switches the Same as Circuit Breakers?

When conversations about safety switches arise, some tend to think they are the same as circuit breakers because both devices turn off the electric supply. However, they are indeed different devices.

The work of a circuit breaker is to turn off the electric supply when it detects abnormalities that could damage the circuit, whereas safety switches do so to protect us.

Which Safety Switch Do I Install?

To make the best choice of which safety switch to install, asking the help of a qualified electrician is the most insightful thing to do. However, here are the three types of safety switches to keep in mind:

  1. Switchboard safety switches are installed on circuits to protect both the circuit and humans.
  2. Power point safety switches are used to replace already existing power points in the house.
  3. Portable safety switches are used when there are no available safety switches and electrical work needs to be carried out.

How Do I Test my Safety Switch?

Safety switch tests are easy to perform and should be carried out as often as every three months.

To conduct a test:

  • Open your electrical switchboard and find the “Test” button (this button is labelled “T” on some switchboards)
  • Press the labelled button. If the safety switch toggles off, you’re good to go. If it doesn’t, an electrician should be called to check on it and fix the issue.

Remember to enlist the help of your electrician if you find your safety switch nuisance tripping even after resetting it.


If you are not sure as to whether or not you have a safety switch installed, check your electrical switchboard for any label indicating its presence.

Safety switches do not protect from all electrical shocks, nor do they protect all your electrical appliances. This is why adequate care must still be taken despite having installed safety switches. Always strive to follow the precautions that should be taken when handling electrical appliances.

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