Benefits of Safety Switches

Why should we install RCD’s in our homes?

What is a safety switch or RCD?

An RCD “Residual Current Device” is commonly known as a safety switch, and they are designed to save lives by protecting people from an electric shock.   They provide an extra level of protection that fuses, and circuit breakers don’t. All homes built in Australia from 1990 to the current day should have RCD’s installed as standard.

Benefits of Safety Switches » Safety switch

How do they work?

So, how does this life-saving device work? A safety switch can detect a change in an electrical circuit and switch off the power in less than 0.3 seconds. Fuses and circuit breakers protect against short circuits, overloads and faults, whereas the safety switches protect people from getting an electric shock.

The switch works by continuously monitoring the electrical current in.

  • An entire building
  • An individual circuit
  • A piece of equipment

When a fault is detected, the RCD shuts off the power.

Your system can be tripped by a number of reasons, the most common are;

Short Circuit

A short circuit occurs when the electricity flow travels outside of its intended route, and essentially reaches a destination quicker than it should, by taking a shorter circuit.

Ground Fault

Ground faults occur when electricity travels outside of the intended route and enters the ground through a conducted surface. Some common reasons for ground faults are, worn insulation, conductive dusts, and water.

Circuit Overload  

Electrical circuits are designed to handle a limited amount of electricity. An overload occurs when you are trying to draw more electricity than a circuit can safely handle.

Benefits of Safety Switches » Safety switch

Different Types of Safety Switches

Switchboard mounted

These are installed on individual circuits and are used to protect, selected electrical circuits throughout the house, plus electrical appliances and extension cords connected to the power points.

Portable safety switches

Portable safety switches are essential protective devices for people using power tools and other electrical appliances, where there is no switchboard or power point safety switches.

Power point Safety Switches

A power point switch replaces an existing power point. These switches protect appliances and power cords plugged into the switch and may also cover electrical wiring and power points on the same circuit.

Benefits of Safety Switches » Safety switch

RCD’s in the workplace

Workplace injuries and fatalities can be prevented with a properly installed and maintained RCD.  Talk to us today to discuss the right RCD for your workplace.  

The code of practice – Managing Electrical Risks in the Workplace can be viewed here:

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is an RCD the same as a Circuit Breaker?

No, RCD’s are for personal safety to prevent injuries and to help save lives. Circuit breakers are there to protect the cabling and appliances from excess current.

  • How Many RCD’s do I need to install?

We recommended all circuits to have RCD protection.

  • Do RCD’s require testing?

Push the ‘test” button every three months. If this fails contact a licensed electrician to check the switch.

  • How do I check to see if I have a safety switch already installed?

RCD’s have a switch as well as a button labelled test, if there is no button, you more than likely have a circuit breaker installed.

Please remember that safety switches enhance safety, they do not remove the need to use common sense and safe electrical practices.  Always use a qualified electrician, for all electrical work. Powered Electrical & Data are happy to assist with all your commercial and residential requirements, we are committed to providing an honest, reliable and cost-effective service.

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