Home tips: How to prevent electrical hazards

Design: The Scientist

1. Inspect your RCCB regularly

All homes in Singapore must have a Residual Current Circuit Breaker (RCCB) installed. It is a safety device that helps prevent electric shock from happening as soon as it detects any leakage in an electric circuit. It shuts off electric supply immediately upon detection. Make sure to check your RCCB is operating properly once a month by pressing the test button.

2. Don’t overload

Overloading power points may lead to overheating and fire. While a multi-plug adapter can be handy when there’s not enough sockets, avoid using one for extended periods of time. Furthermore, do not treat extension cords like dedicated electrical outlets. Be conscious about the maximum wattage capacity of your extension cord, and make sure you don’t exceed it by plugging in too many appliances or devices. Switch it off, remove from the socket, and store properly when not in use. Replace cracked or broken power points and extension cords immediately.

3. Don’t rejoin wires

It’s dangerous to join cut or frayed electrical cords with insulation tape. You risk harm when handling them, and should the tape peel off after a while, your cords will be left exposed. Let a licensed electrician handle damaged cords.

4. Run wires properly

Wires and cords need ventilation to release heat buildup, so never place rugs or carpets on top, or rest furniture on them. Friction may also cause damage and overheat the wires, causing a fire risk. Sharp edges can also cut the insulation and expose live wires, which are dangerous.

5. Look for the SAFETY mark

It may be tempting to pick up that new gadget on sale overseas, or that really cheap AC adaptor from a popular online marketplace. But for your protection, always check for the SAFETY mark in appliances and electronic devices, particularly in everyday items such as microwave ovens, rice cookers, coffeemakers, kettles and irons. They are among the Controlled Goods under the Consumer Protection (Safety Requirements) Registration Scheme that are required to carry the SAFETY mark. Check SPRING Singapore’s “Register of Controlled Goods/Registered Suppliers” at www.spring.gov.sg/safety.



Ditch the bad habit when unplugging a device – pull on the plug itself, not the cord. Pulling the cord puts a lot of strain on the plug and the socket, which can tug the wires out of the connecting pins and break the plug.