Be careful working around electricity and powerlines: WorkCover

Businesses and workers need to be very careful when working with electricity and powerlines after
recent analysis from WorkCover showed there had been two electrocutions and 14 electric shocks in
a recent 12 month period.

WorkCover NSW General Manager of Work Health and Safety Division John Watson said examples
from August 2012 to August 2013 have included electric shocks, through to deaths.
“In one instance a worker was installing air-conditioning at a petrol station when the wiring he was
working with was still energised and he received an electric shock. Tragically, he passed away in
hospital,” Mr Watson said.

“In another case, a plasterer was installing a ceiling fan when he accidently cut through energised
wiring receiving an electric shock which caused him to fall about 2.4 metres off his ladder also
causing bruising.”

Mr Watson urged businesses and workers to take the steps needed to make sure everyone comes
home safe at the end of their shift.

“We want all workers to return home safely to their families and friends at the end of the day,” Mr
Watson said. “But sadly this is sometimes not the case.”
“Working on or near electrical installations can be dangerous, and that’s why workers and
businesses need to take precautions and always use a licensed electrician for all electrical
installation work.
Although all situations are different, what’s important is that there are basic ways to improve
electrical safety.

“It’s so important that workers test before they touch. It sounds simple but it can be overlooked.
“Make sure you de-energise before you start work by identifying and isolating the source of
electricity, and locking and tagging the switch,” he said.
“In conditions that involve exposing electrical equipment to moisture, heat, vibration, mechanical
damage, corrosive chemicals and dust, ensure that that the electrical equipment is regularly tested
and tagged and that the equipment is used in association with an RCD (Residual Current Device/
Safety Switch).

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