Safety for electrical workers

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.
  • Isolate.
  • Test to ensure you have isolated the right circuit/equipment.
  • Lock and danger tag all isolated equipment.

Safety 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.

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