RCD | How reliable is your Safety Switch?
It's generally accepted that the installation of what is commonly called a Safety Switch (or a Residual Current Device or RCD for technical people) will certainly reduce the risk of injury in particular electrical incidents.
Interestingly, research has been released that suggests that your Safety Switch is more likely to protect you if it is regularly used. Of the Safety Switches tested in the study, the Safety Switches that were exposed over time to fine particles of dust and moisture (as normal Safety Switches in your home or office would be as none of us spend our lives in a vacuum), 7.1% of them failed to protect the owner as the moving components stuck causing them to move more slowly that intended. However, only 2.8% of the Safety Switches that were regularly tested in the same environment failed testing. This indicates that a regularly used Safety Switch is certainly more likely to be effective at protecting you from serious injury or death in an electrical incident.
Now, we are not suggesting that you stick a knife in the toaster on a regular basis as there are other far safer ways for you to test the integrity of your Safety Switch. All Safety Switches have a test button that simulates the requirement for the Safety Switch to trip. Yes, in the same manner as sticking a knife in the toaster, all the appliances on that circuit will turn off and you will need to run around and reset the clocks, but regular testing of your Safety Switch will improve the ability of your Safety Switch to trip when you really need it to.
So, why not add "Test my Safety Switch" to the list of things you do when Daylight Savings starts and ends - you are changing all the clocks anyway and it may just save your life!