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Safety Switches 101
Safety Switches 101


Safety Switches 101 – Your Guide to Safety Switches

The need to install safety switches in our homes is prevalent – after all, everyone uses electricity, and everyone requires protection from the dangers it can bring. For this reason, the importance of safety switches cannot be overemphasized if we want to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe.

In this article, we will provide you with the basic information you need to know about safety switches, their purpose in your home, the various types available, and how to test a safety switch.

What is a Safety Switch?

A safety switch is a device that monitors the electricity supply in a given area and automatically shuts off if a fault is detected. The type and number of safety switches to install are dependent on how many circuits are in the home/building. Ideally, each circuit is to have one safety switch.

What are the Different Types of Safety Switch Available?

The choice of what safety switch to purchase depends on your needs, and there are three types of safety switches available to choose from. The switchboard safety switch is installed on individual circuits, while the power point safety switches replace an existing power point (hence the name).

A licensed electrician can install your safety switches as they are elaborate and require professionals to prevent mistakes in installation which could cost lives.

Another available safety switch is the portable safety switch. It is designed as a stand-alone which can be easily placed as the need arises in power points that don’t have any safety switch installed.

The portable switch is plugged into the power point while the appliance is then plugged into its socket. After use, it is simply unplugged and used in other power points that have no safety switches. However, portable safety switches only offer protection from the appliance that is plugged into them.

What Is the Difference Between a Safety Switch and a Circuit Breaker?

People often ask the difference between a safety switch and a circuit breaker, as they seem to perform the same actions. Simply put, circuit breakers are only a piece of the puzzle.

Safety switches turn off the electric supply to protect people from electric shock, while on the other hand, circuit breakers do so to protect electric circuits from blowing up. Asides from protecting us from electric shock, safety switches protect electrical circuits, as well as the appliances that are connected to the power point that has a safety switch installed.

What Other Details Are Important to Note?

After you have installed safety switches in your home, a periodic test of the safety switches should be carried out to ensure your home is protected all year round. This is done in just a few simple steps:

  • Find the “Test” or “T” button on your safety switch and press it.
  • If the safety switch immediately toggles “off”, then your safety switch is functioning properly. If it doesn’t toggle “off”, turn off your power supply and call a licensed electrician to have a look.


Many electrical shocks that have occurred in the past could have been prevented by installing a safety switch in those electrical circuits. They are of utmost importance in protecting against electrical hazards and should be present in every building that has an electric supply.

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