Safety switches are your insurance against electric shock. They are designed to prevent injury or death.

They monitor the flow of electricity through a circuit. They automatically shut off the electricity supply when current is detected leaking from faulty switches, wiring or electrical appliances. This stops the chance of current flowing to earth, through a person and electrocuting them.

Safety switches minimise the risk of electric shocks, injuries and deaths and electricity-related fires. It is a legal requirement for all new homes to have safety switches protecting all power points and lighting circuits. Fuses and circuit breakers protect against short circuits and current overloads, but only safety switches protect people from electric shock.

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Why do I need a safety switch?

Safety switches provide protection against injuries caused by electricity. Many of the fatalities caused by electricity could be prevented by installing a safety switch. Many older homes may not be protected by safety switches.

In South Australia, it is mandatory to install safety switches in all new domestic premises and in buildings where electrical circuits are altered or added. Safety switches are also required for power outlets supplying caravans or similar accommodation in caravan parks.

You must take care when using or working with electricity. Have a safety switch installed at home or use a portable safety switch when working with electricity.

How they Work

If a safety switch has disconnected the power (tripped), this may be due to a temporary fault, lightning or nuisance tripping. Resetting the switch should restore the power supply.

If you cannot reset a safety switch after it has tripped, you may have a faulty appliance connected to the circuit or there may be a wiring fault. In this case, switch off and unplug the appliance that you think is faulty. You should now be able to reset the safety switch and restore the power.