Safety Matters with Electricity
How can electricity be dangerous?
Electrical conductors are materials that allow an electric current to flow through them easily. Metals such as silver, copper, iron, steel and aluminium are all good conductors of electricity. Other good electrical conductors are carbon fibre, graphite, water and consequently the human body.
Electrical insulators are materials that do not easily allow an electric current to flow through them such as plastic, dry wood, rubber, glass and ceramic.
Electrical conductors and insulators have an important role in distributing mains electricity and in the domestic setting.
At home, wires carrying electricity to appliances and gadgets are coated in a plastic insulator to protect us from harm but if the protective casing is damaged your safety is at risk.
To keep you safe from equipment on the electricity network, there are many measures in place. For example, overhead power lines are constructed at a regulated height, fences surround substations, doors are locked and equipment displays danger signs.
However, not all of the equipment is insulated. Inside a substation there is bare ‘live’ equipment and most overhead power lines don’t have insulation either – they’re out of reach or locked away so we should be safe.
So, if we accidentally come in to contact with a power line, underground cable or are tempted to go inside a substation, we are putting our life at real risk because if we touch a ‘live’ piece of equipment, electricity can travel through the human body because it is a good electrical conductor.
Keeping safe with electricity around your property
Click here for useful advice on working safely around the electricity supply to your property.
Keeping safe with electricity in your community
Power lines can become damaged and drop low or fall to the ground, for example, in bad weather conditions or if they have been hit by machinery. Never go near a low or fallen power line and, if it is safe to do so, keep others away and call the local electricity company or 999. Even if they are damaged the power line can remain ‘live’.
A substation should always be locked and if it has a fence around it, it should be secure. If it is not, please report it using the telephone and ID number on the sign.
Metal theft has become an increasingly serious issue and thieves leave our equipment unsecure which poses a serious danger to the community. ScottishPower take metal theft extremely seriously and rewards are available for information leading to prosecution. Click here for more information.
Keeping safe with electricity inside your property
For detailed safety advice about your domestic wiring and for details on how to contact local qualified electricians click here.