Electrical Safety Around the Home
Safety around electricity is important to avoid electrical shocks, overheating, or worse, a fire. Guelph Hydro offers these tips to keep you, your family and friends safe in your home.
Home Safety Planning Calendar
Plan ahead for home safety.
Print and use this calendar
(as seen above) to ensure a monthly electricity check becomes part of your regular home safety maintenance schedule.
- Make sure that any electrical device you use is approved by the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) or Underwriters Laboratories of Canada (ULC).
- Unplug any electrical devices when they are not in use.
- Don't place any electrical appliance near water, such as a sink or bathtub. When not in use, unplug any appliances that are used near water. If you have an appliance that has gotten wet, unplug it and don't use it until it has been checked by a qualified repair person.
- If something gets stuck in an appliance, such as a piece of bread in a toaster, always unplug the appliance before removing the object. Never use a metal tool to remove it.
- Always unplug electrical devices when changing an attachment, such as a light bulb in a lamp.
- Never stand on a wet floor when using an electrical device.
Cords and plugs
- When pulling a plug out of an outlet, pull on the plug, not the cord.
- When using a grounded (three-prong) plug, never break off or bypass the third prong (ground).
- Make sure cords are out of traffic areas and that furniture is not resting on them. Do not run electrical wires through doorways or hide them under rugs or carpets. Doors closing on cords or the weight and friction caused by people walking over the rug can damage the cord's insulation, increasing the risk of fire or electric shock.
- Replace cracked or worn extension cords with new ones.
- Don't use staples or nails to attach extension cords to a baseboard or to another surface. This could damage the cord and present a shock or fire hazard.
- Check the plug and the body of the extension cord while the cord is in use. Some warming is expected when cords are being used, but if the cord feels hot or if there is a softening of the plastic, this is a warning that the plug wires or connections are failing and that the extension cord should be discarded and replaced.
- Keep all cords away from heat and water. Never use a plug when your hands are wet or when you are touching a metal object.
- Check outlets for loose-fitting plugs, broken wall plates, and overloading. Make sure there are safety covers on all unused outlets that are accessible to children.
- If there are repairs needed for any electrical outlets in your home, Guelph Hydro recommends that you hire a qualified electrician to ensure new outlets and wiring are up to code. To find a qualified electrician, please visit the Electrical Safety Authority website.
Keeping children safe
Keep children safe by covering electrical outlets with child-proof outlet covers, and teach them early that electrical devices are not toys.
Portable space heaters
Portable electric space heaters are often used by employees to provide additional heat during the colder months. Unfortunately, space heaters also increase the risks of fire and electric shock if they are not used properly.
Guelph Hydro recommends that employers educate employees about safe space heater practices to reduce the risks to employees and facilities.
- Employees should be required to obtain approval from a supervisor or facility manager prior to using a space heater at work.
- All space heaters should have the certification of either Underwriters Laboratories of Canada (ULC) or be Canadian Standards Association (CSA) approved, or both.
- Keep heaters at least three feet away from anything that can burn, including papers, clothing and rugs.
- Keep space heaters out of high traffic areas and doorways where they may pose a tripping hazard.
- Plug space heaters directly into a wall outlet. Do not use an extension cord or power strip, which could overheat and result in a fire.
- Do not plug any other electrical devices into the same outlet as the heater.
- Operating space heaters should never be left unattended. They should be turned off and unplugged at the end of the work day or whenever the employee leaves the room.
Treating electric shock
If electric shock does occur, follow the steps listed below to ensure you and anyone in the area stay safe.
Outdoor (high voltage) electricity
- Call 9-1-1.
- Do NOT touch the person.
- Do NOT try to use a tool to free the person.
Indoor (low-voltage/100 Volts) electricity
- Call 9-1-1.
- Don't touch anyone who is in contact with an energized circuit.
- Switch off power at the fuse or circuit-breaker box, or pull the plug.
- Call Guelph Hydro at 519-822-3017 if you cannot get the power shut off.
For more information about electricity in the home, visit the Electrical Safety Authority website.