(Toolbox Talk) Electrical Safety, User Check for Portable Appliances

Table of Contents
Electrical safety user checks for portable appliances


The aim of this toolbox talk is to increase staff awareness of the electrical safety. More specifically, the correct user checks that should be made when using portable appliances.

The use of regular toolbox talks, if done effectively, will significantly improve the safety culture within your organisation. This will increase the safety awareness of the workers, and as a result reduce the likelihood of accidents and unsafe occurrences.

Legislation references

  • Health & Safety at Work Act 1974
  • Electricity at Work Regulations 1989

What are the hazards of portable electrical equipment?

  • Electrical shock
  • Burns
  • Potential fatality

What are the main causes of accidents?

  • Lack of training and awareness
  • Faulty electrical appliances
  • Poor inspection and maintenance
  • Failure to check appliances are safe before use
  • Failure to report defects
  • Connection to inappropriate circuits

Ensuring suitability

  • Ensure the equipment you select for a task is suitable
  • Check the environment is suitable and compatible for the equipment you intend to use
  • Use Residual Current Devices (RCDs) where appropriate

Adequate visual checks

  • Switch off and disconnect the equipment from any power source
  • Check the plug for damage or poor wiring
  • Check the cable is secure and that only the outer sheath of the main cable is visible at the plug. If any other conductors are visible stop and report the defect
  • Check the cable between the appliance and the plug. Report any damage
  • Check the casing of the appliance for damage, cracks, heat or smoke marks (soot)

Taking action

  • If you have any concerns about the equipment arrange for a competent person to carry out a thorough inspection and repair
  • Ensure the equipment is placed out of service so that it cannot be intentionally or accidentally used
  • Get in the habit of checking electrical appliances before use