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I pulled on a cord for the light switch hanging from the ceiling in my bathroom and some plastic and metal casing fell off. This is the result. I know nothing about electronics - these look like exposed wires? Are these immediately dangerous? Should I be taking precautions?

This is in the UK.

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  • Yup! That's broke. Doesn't look like it was installed right. Take Johnny's advice. Get an electrician to fix it properly. – ArchonOSX Feb 1 '16 at 23:24
  • "Doesn't look like it was installed right"? What parts of it? – MuchSoUseless Feb 1 '16 at 23:28
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    I meant it wasn't fastened in very well it never should have came loose from the ceiling if it was fastened in properly. – ArchonOSX Feb 1 '16 at 23:31
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    I'm finding this difficult to believe. You pulled on the light switch and 1) the mounting became detached from the ceiling, 2) the cover plate became detached from the mounting, 3) the cover plate became detached from the live wire, and 4) the cover plate became detached from the switched-live wire. All in one pull? – AndyT Feb 2 '16 at 11:37
  • It was not attached to the ceiling - the switch had been broken for a while, so while fixing it, the decorator detached the light from the ceiling and left it there while the plaster on the ceiling was drying. – MuchSoUseless Feb 2 '16 at 13:22
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Those are indeed hazardous "exposed wires", and you should take immediate precautions to make it impossible for anyone to inadvertently touch them. Ideally, you'd turn off power to that circuit and either keep it turned off, or while the power is off cover the exposed wires securely with an insulating device (a securely fastened wire nut, electrical tape, etc) until you can have someone replace the light fixture.

  • Found a switch in the garage that turned off all the lights in the house, but left the rest of the power on. The door to that room will remain closed, so nobody will be touching it, and hopefully there will be a minimal risk of something setting on fire. – MuchSoUseless Feb 1 '16 at 23:24
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Yes. Evacuate the house immediately and do not return. Call your insurance company and have them total the entire building and by you a new home. Tell your neighbors they should vacate the area as well.

It's not that serious. But yes. You should avoid all temptations to lick or touch the metal conductors of those wires directly with your skin. Whoever installed that light fixture was an idiot. And now you get to fix their mess:

Buy a multimeter or a non-contact voltage detector wand. Turn off the breaker to that fixture and use the NCVD or multimeter to make sure the circuit is de-energised. Then go to your nearest non-trademarked home center and buy some proper mounting screws for that thing. My best guess is some toggle bolts would do the trick. Use an appropriately sized drill bit to make a hole for the toggle bolts. If there's a stud very close by the wire then you might be able to use a wood screw with that, and only one toggle bolt.

Once that white bracket it affixed sturdily to the ceiling, put the light fixture back, or put a new one up if the old one busted to bits when it fell. This should be a single-day project, and a great intro to electrics for a novice. Enjoy!

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