Helpful Free Advice From S B Electrical
Safety In The Garden
We all know that gardening is made much easier with the use of electrical appliances such as lawn mowers and hedge trimmers but there is a much greater risk of death by electric shock outside. Wet conditions and contact with the ground mean there is a much greater risk then when using electrical equipment indoors.
Electricity and water don’t mix, so whether it’s pouring from the heavens or there’s still dew on the ground, don’t use electrical equipment outdoors until it is dry.
Here are some simple rules that can easily help you avoid a serious accident when working in the garden.
Tips for staying safe in the garden:
- Always use an RCD (Residual Current Device) when using any electrical equipment outside. It's preferable to have one fitted in the fusebox but if you don't have one there then you should use a plug-in RCD. Always test the RCD at least every 3 months using the test button .
- Make sure that electrical items are unplugged and stationary (lawn mower blades have stopped for example) before adjusting, cleaning or checking them.
- Only buy good quality garden equipment from well known manufacturers.
- Read the manufacturers instructions fully and always use in accordance with them.
- Always store equipment in a dry place and check that it hasn't been damaged or affected by water before using it.
- Watch out for the lead! Know where the power lead is at all times. It's important to keep the connections, plugs and cables free from damage when using hedge trimmers and lawn mowers.
- Electrical equipment should never be used in wet conditions.
- Children should be kept away from all appliances.
- Electric, water and gas services may be buried in the ground so care should be taken when digging in the garden.
Make sure electric pumps don’t electrify the water.
When water is present the risk of electric shock is greatly increased. Poorly or incorrectly installed mains supplied water pumps can result in injury or even death to you and even your fish.
A mains supplied electric water pump in the garden should be:
- Bought from a well known retailer and of good quality.
- Have RCD protection that has been tested every 3 months.
- Installed in accordance with manufacturers' instructions.
- All cables are protected against accidental damage.
- Maintained in good working order, this also includes any connections and cables.
- If a problem should occur with the pump then it should be switched off immediately.
Maintain flexible cables and connectors.
Failure to check connections, extension leads and cables before use could result in an electric shock.
To help you stay safe make sure they are:
- Suitable for outdoor use - weather-resistant with moulded connections that prevent moisture seeping in.
- Are of the correct rating for the equipment you want to connect to them.
- Fully extended to prevent them from overheating.
- Free of any damage.
- Discarded if damage is found.
- Used in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions.
- Check the cables on mowers and other products - make sure cable is not twisted.
Safer Garden Lighting.
Garden lighting is more popular than ever, but it can create a potential safety risk if not installed correctly.
Here are some suggestions when installing mains supplied lighting in the garden:
- Buy good quality electrical outdoor lighting equipment from a reputable stockist.
- Make sure the lighting you choose is suitable for outside use and is weatherproof.
- Light fittings used in water features must be waterproof.
- Mains supplied lighting in the garden must be installed in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions and BS 7671 – Requirements for Electrical Installations (IET Wiring Regulations) and is subject to part "P" building requirements.
- Light fittings should be checked regularly for damage to the light fitting itself, connections and the cable.
- Maintain the lighting in a good condition, free from leaves and dirt.
- Switch off the power supply before changing any lamps (light bulbs).
- If any faults are found, switch off the electrical supply immediately, and have them repaired.