WorkSafe inspectors to check on electrical safety

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Safety inspectors in Victoria will focus on electrical safety this month to ensure the safety of workers from the deadly risks of working ‘live’ or near live electrical equipment.

Inspectors will be checking to ensure that young workers and apprentices are receiving proper training and are being supervised at work. They will also check to make sure that risks are managed appropriately.

Nine workers have been fatally injured in the past 10 years after coming into contact with live electricity on construction sites. Seven of these victims are aged under 30.

WorkSafe Executive Director of Health and Safety Julie Nielsen said working on live circuits or switchboards carried a potentially deadly risk.

“Many clients, including homeowners, do not fully appreciate the dangers electricians face when power supplies are not shut down or isolated,” said Ms. Nielsen.

“Electricians can be placed under huge pressure to get a job done quickly and with as little inconvenience as possible for the client, but when it comes to safety employers must not compromise.

“Regardless of how small or quick a job may be, electricity should always be isolated and tested before any work begins.”

Victoria’s Director of Energy Safety Paul Fearon said that only appropriately trained and qualified electricians should carry out electrical installation works.

“Appropriate supervision must be provided to all workers regardless of their experience,” said Mr. Fearon.

“Don’t become complacent when working in the vicinity of live electrical equipment, always test before you touch and never work live.”

“While experience plays a big part in helping identify and head-off risks on the job, lack of experience isn’t an excuse to cut corners, especially when it comes to your safety at work.”

WorkSafe offers the following tips for electricians to work safely:

  • Always de-energise and lock-out the switchboard or circuit to be worked on
  • Always test to see all parts are de-energised before starting or restarting work
  • If working near energised electrical equipment is necessary, ensure a Safe Work Method Statement is developed and adhered to.
  • Ensure apprentices are adequately trained and supervised
  • If there is no scenario where power cannot be turned off, reschedule the work to a time when the power can be isolated.

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