You’re Grounded! How Grounding Keeps You Safe

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How Electrical Grounding Keeps Us Safer

Grounding is a key part of electrical safety. In the bad old days, people knew electricity could be dangerous, but there were not that many safety guidelines in place. Electricians required a cool head and expert knowledge to do their jobs. They still do, but protective measures are a lot more stringent today.

History of Electrical Safety

People have always respected the power and potential danger of electricity. Here is a brief look at some historical highlights related to electrical safety.

• 1749: Benjamin Franklin developed the first lightning rod, which used grounding to direct lightning away from buildings and into the ground.

• 1895: The first electrical installation codes were developed to keep workers safe and establish installation standards. In 1897, the National Electrical Code (NEC) became the single guiding code that every electrician still uses today.

• 1911: The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) developed standards for the installation and use of sprinkler systems and other protective measures.

• 1956: Charles Dalziel wrote the book The Effects of Electric Shock in Man. His research concluded that most electricity-related deaths were caused by ground faults.

• 1969: Alice Stoll and Maria Chianta developed the Stoll Curve, which measures the degrees of burns from electrical shock. The Stoll Curve is still used today.

• 1976: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) asked the NFPA to develop new standards for workplaces. In 1979, the NFPA published the NFPA 70E, which is a guide to safe electrical practices.

• 1994: The Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) developed guidelines for the correct use of lighting rods and other earthing systems.

• 2015: The NFPA updated its 70E guidelines to include the potential dangers of arc flashes when evaluating safety practices.

How Grounding Words

Electricity flows in a constant loop that we call a circuit. When something interferes with this regular circuit, grounding is the only way to restore balance.

One simple way to think about grounding is to understand that electricity always seeks to “ground” itself, which means to discharge negative energy and return to a balanced state. Grounding is a physical connection to the earth that pulls these negative charges safely downward.

Grounding Keeps You Safe

Normally, an electrical system discharges this negative energy through the neutral wires of an electrical system. If it can’t do that, you have a situation known as a ground fault or a short circuit. Instead of flowing back to the ground, the current flows through metal, water, flammable items, or other dangerous materials

If this happens, the ground wires step in. It trips the circuit breaker, which cuts the power. A short circuit is a major cause of electrical shocks and fires. A grounding wire keeps you safe from those dangers.

Safety Is Always a Priority

At SESCOS, we always make safety a top priority. Our technicians work hard to protect your home or business from short circuits and other electrical dangers. If you’re concerned about the safety of your system, contact us today.