SAFETY WARNING TO ALL:
Alternating Current Electricity (aka: Electrical Mains, wall current, et al.) can and WILL KILL YOU, if you give it half a chance.
See that picture? See those black marks? Those are electrical burns my friends. That doesn’t wash off! But for the grace of God and the fact that I only violated ONE of my safety rules, I could very well be dead in the floor of my garage right this second!!!
1) ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS disconnect the power and/or turn off the breaker to the circuit that you are working on.
2) Before you start ACTUALLY working, VERIFY that you followed Rule #1 and disconnected the power or turn off the breaker to the circuit that you are working on.
Narrative: There I was… making a custom heavy duty extension cord to run my germination/seedling station lights and heaters in the garage. I did NOT turn the breaker off, because I was building the cord from scratch with cable stock and plug/receptacle ends.
After terminating one end (I taped the other end up triple layer) I plugged it into the wall so I could lay it just right, route it, and put the right amount of slack in several places. I did just this, and determined how much cable stock I would need and marked it.
THEN, I let myself get distracted from walking directly to the 2-gang duplex on the wall and unplugging the terminated end. It doesn’t matter how or why I got distracted, but I did. I then proceeded to pick up my dikes and carefully CUT THE CABLE at my mark.
POW!! Poof… Electrical burns, no tripped breaker, and almost death.
Had I NOT been using a quality set of electrically insulated Klein cable cutters in my right hand, and/or had my left hand been touching the cutting surfaces of the Kleins when I cut, I could have easily stopped my heart… or at least been injured badly.
It was a 125 VAC, 20 AMP circuit with NOTHING ON IT… but my cutters.
I lived. And the lesson only cost me a couple of electrical burns and an expensive set of cable cutters.
Yeah… the arc over evaporated about half of one side of the cutters!!
I work with AC current all the time. I am a rule follower. But everyone makes mistakes. That’s why we use redundant safety measures and procedures.
How I could have avoided this near death experience:
1) Follow rule #1.
2) Follow rule #2
3) Don’t plug in single end terminated cords UNLESS you follow Rules #1 and #2 via turning off the CIRCUIT BREAKER to the receptacle you are going to plug into.
End of Safety Brief! Be careful out there. Learn from my mistakes.
I’m tagging a bunch of you. Please tag out and spread the word. Wish there was a way to post announcements and safety tips.