Common Layperson Myths About Electrical Safety

There are no second chances when it comes to electricity, and so as a result people need to be careful and respect its potential dangers.

Most people with electrical training do exactly this, but there are some people who are less knowledgable about the basics of electricity can sometimes believe particular facts about electricity and keeping safe around it that simply are not true.

Here are some of the most common myths people outside of the electrical trade have about electrical safety and how to correct them.

Good Old Rubber Gloves


Part of this is likely the result of watching fiction which also gets this detail wrong, but people do sometimes believe that marigold rubber gloves, of the type used to do the washing up, are enough to insulate your hands and keep you safe in case of an electric shock.


Actual rubber gloves, often sold specifically as insulating gloves, are very good insulators so long as there are no holes, but most washing-up gloves are made from materials that are very good conductors, as well as being prone to melting around your hands when they do so.


Lighter Than Air, Faster Than Light


Less a safety concern and more of a fascinating curiosity, but despite our common perception, electricity is neither massless nor travels at the speed of light.


However, this is largely a technicality, as electricity is so light that its actual weight cannot be properly determined, and electricity does still travel at over 1000mph, which is so fast it may as well be the speed of light for most applications.


If Birds Can Rest On Power Lines…


A common sight in many cities, towns and suburbs is flocks of birds taking a rest on electrical power lines. Because of this, there is an assumption that the wires are somehow insulated, which is not the case at all, as anyone who tries to see for themselves will quickly find out.


For the record, the reason why birds are not harmed when resting on power lines is that they do not touch the ground nor complete the circuit by touching another wire.


Wood Is Not An Insulator


One of the most fascinating facts about electricity is that a material that is most associated with protecting people from electric shocks is technically a conductor.


Wood, when it is dry at least, is so bad as an electrical conductor that it can easily look like an insulator. However, this changes drastically when wood gets wet, and it is not pleasant to find that out.


Turn Off The Dark


One of the biggest debates that is seen about lights and other electrical appliances is whether it uses less electricity to leave them on than the energy used to turn them off and back on.


The answer ultimately depends on how many times a light is turned on and off in a given timeframe, but whilst turning off lights you are not using is generally good practice in a vacuum, if you have rooms you regularly use turning off the light isn’t always worth it.