Workers urged to make electrical safety a priority during Safe Work Month

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Photo: SafetyCulture Library

Workers across NSW are being encouraged to consider what they can do about workplace electrical safety as part of National Safe Work Month.

October is National Safe Work Month – a time to make your commitment to improving safety and health in your workplace.

Essential Energy General Manager Safety, HR, and Environment, David Nardi, said the organisation works closely with a variety of at-risk industries across its footprint to promote electrical safety.

Safe Work Australia figures show NSW had the highest number of workplace deaths in 2015 with 60 fatalities. Of all Australian worker fatalities from 2013 to 2015, four percent were the result of contact with electricity.

“National Safe Work Month is a great reminder to agricultural, construction and trade-based workers to proactively consider workplace electrical hazards,” David said.

“Anyone operating excavators, tip trucks, cranes and high load machinery are at risk of contact with the electricity network and should always maintain safe distances from power lines.”

Essential Energy recommends operators be aware of the height of their equipment, in both raised and lowered positions, as well as the height and voltage of the overhead powerlines in their work area. If in doubt, contact Essential Energy on 13 23 91 for advice.

“All workers owe it to themselves, their family and workmates to ensure safe work practices are always front of mind,” David said. “Familiarise yourself with the latest SafeWork NSW Codes of Practice, and particularly the ‘Managing electrical risks in the workplace’ section which can be viewed at www.safework.nsw.gov.au.”

Essential Energy advises construction workers to complete a safety assessment prior to commencing works to help identify risks and implement controls for potential electrical hazards.

“To protect against potential contact with electricity, assign a competent safety observer to each work team when moving, erecting or dismantling scaffolding near overhead power lines,” David said.

“When digging or excavating, ensure you know the location of all underground powerlines by getting in touch with the free national referral service Dial Before You Dig at www.1100.com.au.”

If equipment does contact the electricity network, remain at least eight metres away, treat all power lines as ‘live’ and call Essential Energy immediately on 13 20 80. If the situation is life-threatening, call Triple-0 (000).

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