Electrical Safety

Stay Safe at Work and Home

Ground fault circuit interrupterElectricity runs almost every appliance in your home or workplace, providing power to cook and refrigerate food, to light both inside and outside, and to keep you warm in winter and cool in summer.

Because we use electric power in so many of our everyday tasks, it’s easy to forget that it can pose risks. It’s important to understand how to safely use electricity inside and outside your home or business.

Electrical Safety Inside

Cords, Plugs, and Appliances

  • Unplug small appliances when not in use. Overloaded plugs can cause electrical fires.
  • Unplug appliances before cleaning. Never dip appliances into water.
  • Do not use appliances with frayed cords. They can cause electric shock or electrocution.
  • Do not run extension cords under throw rugs or carpeting.
  • Buy NRTL (Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory) accredited appliances. These items meet NRTL safety standards and are OSHA-accepted.

Around Water

  • Never use an electrical appliance in a damp or wet area.
  • Use Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI) at outlets near water. They prevent electrocution by shutting off the current to a circuit when there is a short.

Outlet covers
Electrical Outlets

  • Never allow children to play with outlets.
  • Place "child proof" devices on all outlets.

Electrical Safety Outside

On the Ground

  • Downed power lines are very dangerous. Avoid electric shock or electrocution — stay at least 35 feet away from any power line lying on the ground or on top of an object.
  • Those humming green and gray boxes are pad-mounted transformers. For your protection, avoid making contact with a pad-mounted transformer. Never allow children to play on or near transformers.
  • Avoid operating electrical tools during wet weather.

Above the Ground

  • If there are power lines near vegetation, please contact the Austin Energy Forestry Division or submit a Tree Pruning request. Do not attempt to work near overhead power lines.
  • Be cautious when installing equipment such as TV antennas, rain gutters, or satellite dishes on your roof. Make sure the equipment cannot fall into or make contact with nearby overhead power lines.

In Your Neighborhood

Power coming from remote power plants requires high-voltage power transmission lines, transmission towers, and substations. Because of the extreme danger of the high voltage and related equipment, only qualified personnel may access these structures and equipment.

Learn more about transmission towers and substations

Learn More

Date last reviewed or modified: 08/25/2020