Electrical workers can become victims of electrical accidents from working on live equipment or from poor safety precautions. Electrical workers often risk connecting with live parts when:
- altering or adding to switchboards
- cutting into cables, conduits and other wiring enclosures
- making connections in junction boxes that contain numerous circuits
- touching parts of installations that are not isolated by a main switch eg. consumer mains
- dual supplies are connected to appliances eg. hot water service, emergency lighting
- circuits are not isolated by control switches.
Basic safety checklist
Following these simple safety procedures to avoid serious injury or even loss of life.
- Work on equipment that is de-energised not live.
- Test to ensure you have isolated the right circuit/equipment.
- Lock and danger tag all isolated equipment.
- Protective clothing should ideally cover the whole arms to the wrists and legs down to the footwear. Clothing provides protection from:
- electric arcing and flash burns
- flying objects
- electric shock.
- Safety helmets provide protection from overhead wires or electrical parts and falling objects.
- Safety glasses provide protection from electric arcing and flying objects.
- Insulating gloves made to Australian Standard AS2225 are designed for live work and provide protection from electric shock.
- Safety footwear should be non-conductive and constructed with a covered steel toe cap to provide protection from electric shock and falling objects.
- Insulating mats and covers should be used when accidental contact is possible. Used together with insulating gloves, protective clothing and footwear, they provide protection from electric shock.
- Insulated tools provide protection against accidental contact and reduce the risk of creating a short-circuit.
- Safety switches provide protection against wiring which is faulty or deteriorated as well as protection against faulty equipment. Power tools and extension leads should be supplied from a socket outlet protected by a safety switch. Portable outlet devices with an in-built safety switch can also be used.
Remember: The life you save could be your own.