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What Is the Difference Between a Safety Switch & a Circuit Breaker?

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Circuit Breaker

The team at Salient has been spending a lot of time discussing definitions, safety instructions, and tips for greater safety in your commercial business as of late. Why? Honestly because there are a lot of common misconceptions still floating around these days, and these can cause a lot of unnecessary confusion and risk. Today we’ll be covering safety switches and circuit breakers.

At Salient our specialists are dedicated to offering client’s the absolute best in products and service. We take pride in bringing our client’s leading safety switches and emergency disconnects, so if you need electrical safety or access solutions feel free to give us a call or contact us via e-mail!

What’s the Difference?

These two products are often spoken of as though they are interchangeable and serve the same function. However this is very inaccurate! Though both might be found in an electrical control panel, the two items are quite different in function and use.

A safety disconnect, or safety switch, is a device that monitors electric current in various applications. Safety switches are available for major equipment applications (conveyor belts, line equipment, heavy appliances) and also for whole-system electrical protection. A safety switch works by monitoring the current and detecting faults in the electrical. This means in the event of an electrical leak, a short-circuit, an overload, or equipment failure, the safety switch will nearly instantaneously (within milliseconds) shut off power to the system in trouble.

A circuit breaker, on the other hand, specifically monitors for overloading a circuit. If too much power is being drawn by any particular circuit, the breaker will simply trip, cutting off power. You’re probably most familiar with this in a home applications, such as trying to plug a space heater or hair dryer into a circuit that is already at capacity, which will cause a trip.

Still Sounds Similar!

We realize the difference appears small at first! After all, both are found in a control panel, both shut off electrical access when needed. However a circuit breaker will not save someone from injury, and this is the critical difference! A breaker will only look for excess or overloading, and will do nothing in the event of short circuiting or electrical leak. This means there is still a considerable potential for harm present if you only rely on a breaker.

The safety switch, on the other hand, will monitor for any inconsistencies in electrical, and will shut off power if anything is out of sorts at all. In short, breakers protect wiring, and safety switches protect people and appliances. This is why your business should rely on both for complete coverage and total assurance of safety within your structure.

Safety Switches for Your Commercial Business

Looking to bolster electrical safety in your business, or in need of additional electrical supply and safety equipment? If so, you’re in the right place. Salient offers a wide array of custom safety devices for businesses. Contact us any time to learn more, or feel free to peruse our product guides!

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