How It Works

Select the work to be done
Let us know what project you need help with and when you need it done - we'll match you with the right pros for the job.
Compare matched pros
Verify pro credentials, read reviews, ask questions, discuss availability, and request project estimates.
Complete your project
Hire the pro that's right for you and your budget. After the project is complete, let your community know how it went.
Powered by

The Home Depot

5 Ways to Prevent Electrical Shock

Pro Referral > Home Guides > Electrical > 5 Ways to Prevent Electrical Shock
5 Ways to Prevent Electrical Shock

According to the website WebMD, electric shock occurs when a person comes in contact with an electrical energy source. “Electrical energy flows through a portion of the body causing a shock,” the site says. “Exposure to electrical energy may result in no injury at all or may result in devastating damage or death.”

About 1,000 people in the United States die each year from electrical shocks, and most of the deaths are the result of on-the-job injuries. Most likely, you aren’t a professional – just a homeowner looking to do a little work around the house. For you, that fact should be frightening. If trained professionals can be seriously injured by electricity, you as a layperson should move with caution when handling it – or maybe better yet, seek a professional.

Even if you do get a professional, you should be in the know about electrical shocks and ways to prevent falling victim.

  1. About 1,000 people in the United States die each year from electrical shocks, and most of the deaths are the result of on-the-job injuries.

    1.Know what you’re doing

    How much experience do you have? Electricians spend years studying how to properly and safely handle electricity, either by attending school or by apprenticing under a more experienced professional. It’s good to be an informed consumer – a good working knowledge of how your home’s electrical system works isn’t a bad thing – but if your education comes from a quick Google search before you get to work, you should probably put down the tool kit.

  2. 2.Call a professional

    A good professional will know the safest way to get to the root of your problem – and then fix it. Electricians can find code violations in your home, wire your home, help with lighting and HVAC work and more. Many electricians even offer 24-hour emergency services. Do some research before you hire someone to help you with your electrical work. Ask them for recommendations, check out their website (if they have one).Make sure any electrician you hire is licensed and try to get a written cost estimate up front.

  3. 3.Avoid water

    Keep your appliances away from water. If it’s possible, keep your appliances away from sources of water. That means that you should keep all your appliances away from sinks, bathtubs and showers. It’s also important to make sure there are Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI) in areas of your home where there is water. GFCI’s are either installed in your electrical system or built into a power cord to help you prevent electrical shocks. They do this by monitoring the current flowing through a circuit. If the current flowing into the circuit differs from the current flowing out – even if the difference is slight – the GFCI stops the flow of power. You should also be sure not to handle any appliances while your hands are wet.

  5. 4.Turn it off

    Before you do any kind of electrical work yourself, make sure the appliance is turned off and unplugged. Find the circuit and make sure that it is turned off, too Warn family members and roommates before you start the job so they won’t turn the power back on while you’re working.

  6. 5.Take care of your appliances

    Only buy appliances that are approved by a reputable consumer laboratory. Use your appliances only in accordance to manufacturers’ instructions. If your appliance generates heat, allow plenty of space around it for air to circulate. Don’t pile clothes, towels or blankets on top of it. Make sure your appliances’ cords are in good condition. Don’t allow them to get kinked up or knotted. Inspect them to make sure they aren’t frayed or singed.


    Electricity is such a mundane part of our lives that we take it for granted. However, it’s important to remember that it can cause serious injuries. Treat your home’s electric system with care and respect in order to stay safe.

Find Pros

Get your home project started today with help from Pro Referral’s qualified network of pre-screened and background-checked professionals available in your neighborhood.

Get Expert Advice

Submit your toughest home improvement questions to our knowledgeable experts and receive free personalized solutions, product recommendations, how-to advice, and more–all within 48 hours or less.