Eskom educates on electrical safety

2015-07-01 06:05

ESKOM has been conducting roadshows around the country to create awareness and educate consumers on safety issues concerning electricity.

The roadshows were conducted in various communities, and also at schools, where electricity-related accidents have taken place.

“Eskom is committed to the value of ‘zero harm’, hence the importance of these community and school roadshows,” says Jace Naidoo, senior manager of Eskom’s Occupational Health and Safety (OHS).

“Every season in the calendar year brings with it some challenges where safety is a concern and we would like to highlight some of the electricity safety issues prevalent during the winter season.”

In winter, the following are some of the safety issues that consumers are faced with that could result in harm:

) Illegal connections – unauthorised electrical connections onto the Eskom network are mostly constructed in a way that is very dangerous.

These connections run low above the ground or on the ground and cross the streets. They do not have adequate insulation, nor do they have any safety protection mechanisms.

) Unsafe and substandard connections – some connections are done in such a way that they are unsafe for the users.

For example, instances where wires are connected directly to a plug socket or cases where the house is not properly wired and the meter is bypassed, often occur.

This means that, in the case of a fault inside the house, the earth leakage will not trip to clear the fault and you will not be protected.

Faults are also more likely due to exposed live electrical parts.

) Leaving appliances unattended to while connected – if electrical appliances are left unattended while in use, they may fall over and make contact with something combustible, thereby igniting a fire.

Appliances that pose the biggest risk are stoves and heaters.

) Overloading of plugs – connecting multiple appliances to one plug point is dangerous.

It may cause the wires to overheat, causing shock and injury to users X especially if the meter has been bypassed, resulting in the protection not detecting this condition.

) Repurposing of appliances – the repurposing of appliances such as paraffin stoves or gas appliances to be powered by electricity is a very dangerous practice as these appliances do not have safety features.

“During the winter, we usually have a number of incidents as a result of at least one of these unsafe practices or a combination thereof,” says Naidoo.

“We would therefore want to make the public aware of how these practices are posing a risk to their lives, those of their families and especially children, who are the most vulnerable.”

As always, Eskom calls for all members of society and users of electricity to be aware of the safe use of electricity in their homes and places of work – especially during this season when electricity usage is at its highest as a tool to keep the winter chills at bay.

Eskom also encourages citizens to become more active in reporting exposed, damaged or low-hanging power cables, as well as illegal connections, to 086-003-7566 (08600 ESKOM).

“We are appealing to people to be more cautious and to avoid touching exposed or low-hanging cables.

“By remaining vigilant, we can ensure that our loved ones and ­communities remain safe,” concludes Naidoo

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