Safety Switch & Motor Disconnect Switches

Inconsistencies in the electrical current can be hazardous to your facility and personnel. Motor disconnect switches — also called a disconnect switch or safety switch — will stop the power flow to a motor or machinery for repairs and maintenance or emergencies.

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What Is a Disconnect Switch?

A disconnect switch is a device that interrupts the electrical current flow to isolate an electrical circuit. This interruption is necessary for maintenance, switching power sources and emergency shutdowns. Safety switches are essential in providing protection from short circuits, overcurrent, circuit overloads and heat damage. They keep your property and personnel safe.

The switches have three main components:

  • Enclosure: Protects the contacts from the environment and users from the live circuits.
  • Wired electrical contacts: The wired connections that power the disconnect switch.
  • Actuator: A knob or handle that will engage or disengage the contacts without opening the enclosure.


The disconnect switch monitors the current to detect faults. If there is an issue, the switch will instantly shut off the power. When the circuit is open, the current is disconnected, and when the circuit is closed, the current is reconnected. They can be used for large equipment or a whole system.

Safety Switch Applications

Disconnect switches are used in the power distribution industry to shut down the power supply to a particular area or switch power sources. They are also common in industrial applications because all industrial and manufacturing plants must have them, according to the National Electrical Code® (NEC). In these instances, they stop the power flow to machinery and motors for safety and repairs.

In any application, it’s best to lock and tag the safety switch to prevent others from turning on the power. According to NEC article 430.102B, motor disconnect switches must be visible and 50 feet or less away from the equipment.

Common Problems and Questions About Motor Disconnect Switches

One question many business owners have about safety switches is the difference between the two main designs:

  • – Fusible: A fusible disconnect switch uses fuses to protect against short circuits and overcurrent.
  • – Non-fusible: A non-fusible disconnect switch turns the electrical flow on and off with no protection for short circuits and overcurrent. It is best for applications with a dedicated fuse upstream and currents of less than 5 kiloamperes (kA).


Another misconception is that safety switches and circuit breakers are the same because they both shut off the electrical current. The disconnect switch looks for any inconsistency to protect appliances and people, and the circuit breaker monitors for overloads to safeguard the wiring.

Enjoy Product Variety and Efficient Services at Global Electronic Services

Global Electronic Services will take care of your equipment needs, from buying a new safety switch to having your unit repaired. Our inventory has thousands of cost-effective product options for you to choose from. With our maintenance services, we’ll have your device repaired and returned in one to five days.

Browse this page to see our motor disconnect switch options and call 877-249-1701 today with questions.

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