Over the last 100 years, Benjamin Franklin's accidental bump into 'electricity' on a stormy night Philadelphia, followed by Thomas Alva Edison's light bulb invention, resulted in electrical power entering almost every home in the form of light fixture, electrical equipment and appliance. While the convenience and benefits are enormously high, the danger is not of any smaller magnitude, in the context of mains power supply that comes into the household switchboard from the electricity supplier. In general perception, the danger, hazard and risk of using an electrical appliance or equipment may seem to outweigh the benefits. Well not so, because the consequences of a rare occurrence electric shock will mostly be very bad.
This article aims to provide the basis understanding of electrical energy dynamics, and then reviews the role of the three important links in the chain Manufacturer (Distributor), the installer and the end user, the context being mains supply at 240V, 50Hz current electricity (Alternate Current or A.C)
Dynamics of Electrical Energy and the electrical shock
The following paragraphs attempts to explain the basic electricity flow principle - Voltage, current flow. Water flows from high to low level on a gradient (slope). Electrical energy does similarly. The analogy is the voltage (technically called potential difference) provides the gradient/slope for current to flow. As the water always tries to equal the difference in level and stand still, electrical current tries to equate the voltage to zero (reduce the difference to zero) and stop flowing.
This is no different to nature's law of inertia or resistance to move. In its effort to stop flowing, the current flows through any path with least resistance, to the mother Earth. And the Earth has an abundant capacity to take these electrical charges. Any person or animal, coming into contact with bare wires, damaged wires or leaking current from a faulty appliance or equipment, without being properly insinuated from the ground/Earth forms an easy least resistance path for such a flow; the result could be very serious and even fatal. Such is the nasty power of a small leakage current.
That explains why electricity is as dangerous, why that utmost level of care and caution is required when working with it, and why safety measure like proper Earthing, circuit breakers, safety tripping switches etc., are so vital.
What role the manufacturers, installer and users play ?
It is as well a collective as an individual responsibility to ensure that the safety of people and animals are ensure around electrical appliances and equipment. No amount of care and caution are never enough. Each of the major participating entities including but not limited to manufacturer/distributor, installer and user of such appliance or equipment must unconditionally make a positive contribution to ensure electrical safety.
Manufacturer/distributor must evaluate the safety of the product, offer it for sale only if the risk of failure is nil or nil. The product design must always address a secondary (backup) safety measure, in case of an unavoidable rare case of failure. The quality assurance systems should revolve around and chiefly the focus on product safety. The installation documentation should be clear, simple, easy to understand, as illustrative as possible.
It must be noted that however good the product literature is, it is only useful if available readily whenever required by the user or installer. Manufacturers should hence think of ways to make them readily and affordably available to the use or installer. (Example, online manuals/literature, built into product memory in high end technology products etc.,). It is easier said, but manufacturers must put safety before profits. In the long run safe and reliable products demonstrate value for money and will be profitable.
Installers, as always rely on the expertise and experience, in installing an electrical product. It is worth not to lose sight of the fact that every product (and every model) is different and may be unique. So, it is worth understanding the contents of manufacturer's installation instructions, product literature well, prior to installing the product. This practice is a never an indication inadequacy, but a reinforcement of invaluable expertise, experience or skills. A job carried out ensuring long term safety is worth more for the user.
The user must be able to see the real value for money or worthiness in safety perspective, rather than a simplistic currency value. In addition, the installer, must educate the user on the safe handling of the appliance or equipment. For only such action conveys the installer's feeling of concern for safety and commitment to work ethics.
Users must primarily respect electricity. It is one of the most invaluable inventions and a gift to the world, only if treated with due respect. Users must always follow proper instructions while handling electrical equipment. User should never ever try to install or commission any electrical appliance or equipment, unless they have valid qualification, registration, licensing and adequate training to do so.
Neither should a normal user try to modify or repair such equipment or appliance. Everyone, in presence of electrical equipment or appliance feel responsible for safety of oneself, all other around and animals. Animals do not deserve to be victims of human inventions or human negligence.
Live and let live a safe life. Electrician Olympia WA handles all electrical repair needs around Olympia, WA. Call us today at (360) 301-8822 for free quote.