Electrical Safety 101
By: Mia Liley, MBA, ARM, CRIS
Risk Control Consultant
Most everyone knows that electricity and water don’t go hand in hand…..except for Tommy
Tommy has decorative lights in his yard that timeout at sunset. That is, when the correct light bulbs are used.
When the lightbulbs blew out, Tommy replaced them with the incorrect bulbs. So, as long as the lights were plugged in, they would remain on at all times. After a few days of seeing the lights on, his wife Lisa became frustrated and concerned about the waste of electricity, she unplugged the cord from the receptacle. That evening as they were leaving for dinner, Tommy noticed the lights were out and the cord unplugged.
Well, it had been raining for a few days, so both the ground and light cord were very saturated. Tommy went to plug in the lights, when Lisa warned him against doing so. But Tommy was adamant that since they were outside lights, the site conditions (wet ground and electrical cord) do not matter.
While she was stunned by the response, he too was SHOCKed…..when he picked up the end of the wet cord and plugged it into the outlet! Needless to say, he did a quick two step dance, and dropped the plug just as quickly as he picked it up.
The outdoor receptacle was protected in a weatherproof box. However, when Lisa unplugged the cord, she left it in the wet grass.
In addition to unplugging the lights from outside, Lisa could have turned off the breaker for outdoor lighting at the electrical panel. We’ll assume the GFCI protected receptacle tripped the breaker when Tommy plugged in the lights.