Happy holidays from the team at Raffin Electrical!

By Daley Raffin

Our present for you this year is the gift of electrical safety. Even though work is winding up for the year, we always need to be alert when it comes to safety. Check out our guide to Christmas electrical safety and stay safe over this festive season.

December is a time for Christmas cheer with many homes and gardens turned into spectacular festive displays.

During this time it’s important to remember electrical safety. Too often decorative lighting isn’t installed correctly, or no electrical safety measures have been considered.

Raffin Electrical urges everyone to be aware of common sense electrical safety measures to keep you and your family safe.

For those with extensive lighting, displays consider having a Master Electrician or licensed contractor install additional outdoor power points, rather than overloading existing circuits.

Christmas Light Safety

If you’re decorating your office or workspace, you always need to be mindful of potential hazards. WorkSafe QLD has put together a handy guide to setting up Christmas lights at work.

Make sure you pay close attention to the following points:

  • If you’re using old Christmas lights, make sure they are tested and tagged before use. Check the government product recalls online to ensure they haven’t been part of a product recall.
  • When you’re putting up your lights, make sure the power is off. The same rule applies if you’re changing a bulb.
  • Only use indoor lights inside and outdoor lights outside.
  • Make sure your residual current device has been tested before you plug in any lights.
  • Get your smoke alarms tested in case of a Christmas light related fire.

Extension Cords & Power Boards

With all these extra lights and decorations plugged in as well as your office equipment, it is easy to overwhelm your electrical circuits. As a part of your Christmas electrical safety checklist, pay close attention to our rules for extension cords and power boards:

  • don’t use double adaptors
  • don’t plug high wattage appliances into power boards (for example, fans). It is much safer to plug them directly into the wall
  • buy power boards with overload protection
  • check your equipment for signs of damage
  • regularly clean your equipment
  • make sure extension leads are out of the way to avoid tripping
  • do not place extension leads under rugs or carpet to avoid overheating

Product Recalls

Are you running a Kris Kringle in your office this year? If you’re buying electronics, make sure you check out the latest product recalls and avoid dangerous gift giving. Check the Federal Government’s product safety recalls website to ensure Christmas lights have not been deemed unsafe by regulators.  Even reputable retailers occasionally need to recall dangerous items.

The only way to be truly safe is to ensure all lights are connected to power points controlled by a safety switch. A safety switch will detect any imbalance of power associated with electric shock and stop the flow of electrical current in less time than a heartbeat.

Adding a safety switch to a switchboard costs a lot less than many of the more elaborate lighting products that many homeowners buy for their Christmas lights displays, and can give you the peace of mind you are safe from an electrical accident this happy season.

Test Portable Appliances

Whether it’s a speaker that you’re using to blast Christmas carols or cooking equipment for the office Christmas party, you need to make sure it is safe to use. Regular testing and tagging will minimize the chance of an electrical accident in your workplace. Make a visit to Raffin Electrical as part of your Christmas electrical safety regime at work.

Christmas Tree Safety

Unfortunately, those twinkling lights on your Christmas tree can create a bit of a fire hazard. To avoid a nasty accident, never leave the lights on when you’re not in the building. There are a couple of other things you can do to fireproof your tree:

  • if your tree is alive, water it regularly to make it less flammable
  • spray your tree with fire retardant
  • buy a fire safe Christmas tree
  • Make sure your tree isn’t too close to power points or power distribution equipment.

Christmas safety checklist

  • Check for an Australian Approval number when purchasing lights such as Q12345, V01294, or N12345
  • Visit www.recalls.gov.au to check for any recalled Christmas lights
  • Ensure you have safety switches installed – preferably on all circuits in your home, but definitely on the circuits powering your Christmas lights
  • When installing lights outdoors, only use lights designed for external use. Generally, these types will have a transformer
  • Use extra-low voltage lights – look for lights with a transformer
  • Always turn off outdoor lights during rain or storms
  • Ensure your outdoor connections are weatherproofed
  • Do not piggyback double adapters or power boards
  • Always keep clear of power lines, swimming pools, driveways, and walkways
  • Go solar if you can – it’s better for the environment and safer for you
  • Secure outdoor lights to fixtures and keep out of children’s reach
  • Follow the instructions and recommendations of the manufacturer

Have a Wonderful Holiday

Now that you’ve read our Christmas electrical safety tips, we’d like to wish you a very safe and happy Christmas period and a Happy New Year!.

Remember to stay safe over your break and get in touch with us in the new year here at Raffin Electrical regarding anything electrical. Feel free to contact us in our office on 4168 5518.