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Switches, leads and powerpoints

Watch ESV’s TV commercial on power board and cord safety featuring Brooke Hansen.

Follow these simple tips for using and maintaining electrical switches, leads and power points and making your home safe.

Switches, power points and power boards

Do not overload power points or power boards by “piggy backing” plugs into one socket or by using double adaptors – all power boards have maximum current ratings. Arrange for an additional power point to be installed by a licensed electrical professional

  • Do not allow children to play with power points or switches
  • Insert safety plugs in unused power point sockets – to prevent accidental contact
  • Ensure electrical cords are not hanging from benches where children can reach them
  • Do not plug high wattage appliances (such as heaters) into power boards – they may overheat the circuit wiring through overload and cause a fire
  • Place power boards in ventilated areas and keep them free of dust and dirt – if there is a build-up of dirt, moisture, grease or oil on or around power points and switches, have them tested by a licensed electrical professional
  • Do not spray household cleaners, detergents or insecticides on switches and power points
  • Do not wipe power points or switches with a wet cloth.

Extension leads

Use extension leads only as a temporary measure, and follow these safety tips:

  • Extension leads should have plugs with three metal cores (pins) – plugs with two cores are not earthed, dangerous and should only be used with double insulated electrical equipment
  • Place extension leads carefully around furniture preferably securely taped to the floor, or along wall edges
  • Do not place extension leads near heaters and cookers
  • Do not connect a ‘piggyback’ plug to the end of an extension lead to make it longer – the pins will be live, and therefore extremely dangerous
  • Do not attempt to repair electrical leads yourself, and never join them by twisting or taping
  • Extension leads that are damaged, frayed or have exposed inner wires should be thrown away or repaired only by licensed electricity professional
  • Do not make up a long extension lead from a series of shorter ones
  • If using extension leads outdoors check them regularly for signs of damage or age,
  • Never place extension leads under carpet or rugs as they may overheat
  • Fully extend leads on reels when in use.

Contact us

If you have any queries in relation to electrical safety around the home or powerpoints, switches and leads please contact ESV on (03) 9203 9700 or send us an email to info@energysafe.vic.gov.au.