Most Common Causes of Electrocution While Installing Lights and How to Avoid Them



There are a bunch of ways that you could potentially get electrocuted without sticking a fork into an active electrical socket. Some of the most common causes of electrocution come from installing new light fixtures without proper knowledge of safety practices. Being uneducated about electrical wiring when you decide to take on lighting installation on your own can be dangerous.  

Table of Contents 

  1. Common Causes of Electrocution
  2. Code Violations Vs General Dangers
  3. Importance of Electrical Safety During Light Fixture Installation
  4. Safety Measures Before Installation
  5. Always Keep Learning


Understanding electrical safety during light fixture installation is crucial for any homeowner or DIY enthusiast. Even with lights that are simple to install, like Sunco’s recessed slim lights, you may still require a small bit of electrical knowledge in order to install them on your own. Don’t worry if you’re not an electrician, we have a very simple installation guide that can help alleviate any concerns.  

Something to note before getting started is that there is a difference between common dangers when installing a light and code violations. Keep this in mind when doing your own research, as safety comes in many capacities.  




Common Causes of Electrocution 

Inadequate Wiring 

Wiring equipment, such as extension cords, are built to only handle a specific amount of electricity. If the energy exceeds that level, you will be at risk of electrocution or fires. You can avoid this by double checking that your gear is resilient enough to handle the job at hand.  

Many electrical tools are insulated, which helps to prevent unwanted electrocution. Check your tools’ labels to be certain that you are using the best quality for your projects.  


A concept that is similar to inadequate wiring is overloads. Overloads usually take place when too many cords are plugged into one circuit. What happens is that the temperature of the entire system rises and eventually catches on fire. You could get also electrocuted when you try to remedy the situation. 



Ground Faults 

A ground fault is when an unintended electrical path forms between a live electrical conductor and a grounded surface. The flow of current through this unintended path, also known as earth leakage, can cause serious electrical shock hazards and damage to electrical systems. The most basic principle of electrical engineering is understanding closed circuits. When that circuit is open, electrical devices become dangerous, as touching them will include you in the system and give you a significant shock. The good news is that tools and electrical equipment often have safeguards against this issue.  


Power Lines 

While many power lines are insulated, a significant portion of them are not. This can affect you in two ways. First, you might be working on the lines and get a shock from them. Second, you could accidentally touch them with a tool or vehicle. Either way, the voltage passed on to you in the process could be incredibly powerful and lead to adverse health outcomes, such as heart failure, brain damage and even death. 



Live Parts 

Some manufacturers build electrical equipment with uninsulated openings. While they can be more efficient and flexible, this practice is unsafe for workers. You can avoid getting electrocuted by looking for warning signs, wearing protective gear, and being as careful as possible around these areas. 

Temporary Wiring 

Lastly, we have temporary wiring. As I explained above, different pieces of equipment have very specific uses and capacities. Temporary wiring is notorious for being less resilient than it should be, but lazy habits often lead to them becoming permanent. This practice can lead to electrocution and burns, as the wiring is susceptible to malfunctioning. 


Code Violations Vs General Dangers 

Electrical codes are written into law and relate to many aspects of building construction and maintenance. These include occupancy safety, structural safety, electrical, plumbing, and energy use. A structure’s lighting system has codes and standards that not only relate to public safety but also its energy consumption.  

The problem is that each time the electrical code is revised, old wiring is “grandfathered” on the assumption it was installed correctly. Code only requires you to update wiring in rooms being gut-renovated.  

Some code violations include over-wired electrical panels, uncovered junction boxes, and using a light bulb with a higher wattage than the fixture is designed for. 


Importance of Electrical Safety During Light Fixture Installation 

Apart from the obvious desire to not be electrocuted, there are a handful of other dangerous occurrences that can be prevented with proper electrical safety. Proper safety tactics are not just important for preventing injuries or fires. It also protects property and loved ones. A faulty light fixture can cause damage to property, and in the worst-case scenario, can lead to fatalities. 

When working in direct contact with electrical wiring, including the junction box that comes with your Sunco slims, take extra care to follow the appropriate steps to ensure a safe and easy installation. 


Safety Measures Before Installation 

Safety should always be a top priority when it comes to electrical work. Before starting any installation, it is important to take certain precautions to prevent accidents and injuries. Here are some safety measures to consider before installing a light fixture: 

Switch Off the Power 

Before beginning any electrical work, be sure to switch off the power to the circuit you will be working on. This can be done by turning off the circuit breaker or removing the fuse that controls the circuit. It is important to test the circuit with a voltage tester to ensure that there is no electrical current present before beginning work. 

Use of Insulated Tools 

When working on electrical components, it is important to use insulated tools to prevent electrical shock. Insulated tools are designed with non-conductive handles and shafts to prevent electricity from flowing through the tool and into the user's body. It is important to inspect the tools for any signs of damage before use, and to replace any damaged tools immediately. 

Proper Use of Ladder 

When installing a light fixture, it is often necessary to use a ladder to reach the installation site. It is important to use the ladder properly to prevent falls and injuries. The ladder should be placed on a stable surface and should be positioned at the correct angle. The user should always face the ladder when climbing up or down and should never stand on the top two rungs of the ladder. 


Always Keep Learning 

Whether you’ve been in the industry for decades, or you are a first time DIYer still learning the ropes, it is important to never stop doing adequate research. There is no shortage of new information, especially considering the continued growth of technology. One of the best ways that you can keep yourself safe around electrical equipment is to stay up to date on code compliance. 

By following safety measures and staying informed, you can help ensure a safe and successful light fixture installation. 

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