Electrical safety

Incorrect or careless use of electrical equipment and installations can lead to a risk of electric shock or fire. For this reason, there are requirements to be followed to ensure the safe use of electrical equipment and installations.

The safety of life, health, property, and the environment must be ensured when using electrical equipment and installations.

Electrical equipment and installations may be put into service if they meet the requirements, are in a satisfactory repair state, and are safe to use. You must use electrical equipment and installations for their intended purpose and comply with the requirements laid down for them.

Before putting into service a new or upgraded electrical installation in a building, its compliance must be checked. This is done by an audit of the electrical installation. During the audit, the auditor visually assesses the state of the electrical installation, examines the documentation and test and measurement results of the installation, and, if necessary, carries out additional control measurements on the installation. Based on all this, the auditor decides whether the installation meets the requirements and is safe for use.

As the electrical systems in buildings age during use, their condition needs to be checked from time to time. For this purpose, a regular audit of the electrical installation is carried out at fixed intervals. The frequency of this depends on the type and age of the installation. 

Companies with the appropriate accreditation can carry out audits. The audit results and the documents are digitally formatted in the Consumer Protection and Technical Regulatory Authority's information system at https://jvis.ttja.ee, where they are accessible to the owner of the electrical installation at any time. 

Regular audits are not compulsory for dwellings (private houses, apartments, holiday homes), but these installations must also be inspected from time to time to ensure their safety and functionality. To have the electrical installation in your home checked, you should contact a competent electrician or an auditor who will carry out the necessary procedures and give you feedback on the installation's condition and safety.

Although electrical work may seem like a simple task, it is a dangerous activity. Incorrectly done electrical work can cause electric shock and fire hazards. Electrical work may only be carried out by persons who have adequate training in electrical safety. Electrical contractors must have submitted a notification to the register of economic activities and have a competent electrical contractor in charge of the work.

You can also carry out simple work yourself, such as changing switches, sockets, light bulbs, and fuses (but not installing new ones). It is permitted to repair and replace switches, light bulbs, extension leads, and plugs. New electrical installations, sockets, and switches may only be built, installed, or changed by professionals. The same applies to the connection and disconnection of fixed household appliances and the replacement of ungrounded sockets by grounded sockets.

The protection zone of an electrical installation is the area of land surrounding an electrical installation where activities are restricted to ensure the installation's safety and protection. The network operator must be informed of power lines' operation (overhead lines and underground cables) within the protection zone. Notification enables the network operator to show where the underground cable is located and what requirements must be followed to avoid damage to the overhead line or underground cable. Incorrect action can either endanger people in the protection zone or cause an interruption in the electricity supply due to a line break.

If you notice a downed overhead line or a substation with open doors, inform the network operator immediately. This will help to avoid accidents.

Tips to ensure electrical safety

  • have the condition of the building's electrical systems periodically checked by a competent specialist;
  • have a periodic audit carried out to assess the electrical installation or system condition to determine whether it is in good working order or whether any deficiencies need to be addressed. The frequency of the audit depends on the age and type of the building;
  • do not carry out the electrical work yourself, but use a specialist. It is OK to carry out simple work yourself if you have the appropriate knowledge (e.g., changing switches, sockets, light bulbs, fuses);
  • if the number of electrical appliances and the current consumption has increased significantly, have your home's electrical system upgraded;
  • a working protective device must protect the electrical system. For additional protection against electrical and fire hazards, have a circuit breaker installed;
  • do not overload electrical equipment and wiring; overloading is a dangerous source of fire;
  • use equipment only in intended conditions. You must not use electrical equipment intended for indoor use outdoors or in wet rooms (e.g., bathrooms);
  • do not use electrical equipment which is damaged (e.g., the insulation of the cable is visibly defective);
  • in the event of an electrical accident, switch off the power and call 112;
  • If you notice a downed overhead line or an open substation, inform the network operator immediately. If you need to operate in the protection zone of a power line, inform the network operator.

In the event of more serious electrical accidents

  • Switch off the power 
  • Call an ambulance and do the following while you wait:

- If the victim is breathing but unconscious, move him to a lateral position. 
- If the victim is not breathing, but there is a pulse, start mouth-to-mouth immediately.
- If the victim has no pulse, immediately start CPR.

Knowing the causes of electrical accidents can help prevent them. Always inform the Consumer Protection and Technical Regulatory Authority of electrical accidents where people have been injured or have needed medical attention.

Last updated: 06.04.2021