Safety: Working Safely With Electricity
15 April 2020
Working with electricity carries a high risk of death, shock or other injuries, such as burns, resulting from direct or indirect contact. The risks associated with electricity are strongly linked to where and how it is used, with the greatest risk being found in harsh conditions like:
- Outdoors or in wet surroundings where equipment can become wet and put at greater risk of being damaged e.g. by dust or corrosive substances.
- In cramped spaces with earthed metalwork e.g. inside a tank or bin where it may be difficult to avoid electrical shock if an electrical fault develops.
It is also important to remember that some types of equipment involve greater risk than others. Portable electrical equipment (including plugs and sockets), and extensions leads (particularly those connected to equipment which is frequently moved), are especially susceptible to damage.
When working with or near electricity, it is vital to remember the following:
- Always assume any electrical wiring is live and treat is as such.
- Overhead lines can be deadly – be mindful of the height, sway and sag of the lines; the nature, height and shape of the load; as well as approach distances and work zones.
- Identify the location of underground cables and use insulated hand tools when performing tasks such as pot-hole repair.
- Tools should be plugged in to an RCD box or RCD protected circuit.
- If a piece of equipment has been fitted with a lock-out tag, respect it – never remove it.
- Check equipment for a current test tag, and for any damage.
- Never yank on cords to remove them from sockets/equipment, or pull them around corners.
Source: Safe Work Australia: www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/electrical-safety