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Electrical worker seriously burned making contact with live switchboard

Thursday 3 August 2023 at 1:16 am

Energy Safe Victoria is investigating the cause of an electrical arc event that resulted in an electrical worker sustaining serious burns.

The 29-year-old electrical worker made contact with live electrical parts on high-voltage equipment while undertaking cleaning at a Burwood East building on Saturday, 22 July.

He was hospitalised with burns to his hand, arms and face.

An electrical arc event is an unexpected, violent, electrical short circuit in the air that produces an arc of electricity flow.

The electrical worker had been carrying out annual maintenance and cleaning on 22kV switchboards which had been de-energised.

Energy Safe is investigating how and why the electrical worker came into contact with energised equipment that was close to the de-energised equipment he was assigned to work on.

In another incident that occurred on Tuesday, 4 July, an electrician was hospitalised with burns after he pierced a live cable with his pliers at a residential property in Clifton Hill, causing an explosion and resulting in burns on his left hand.

The electrician had turned off the power to the property via the circuit breakers before starting work, however he did not remove the service fuse.

Energy Safe CEO Leanne Hughson said it was disappointing to see two incidents that left electrical workers in hospital in the same month.

“It appears both incidents could have been avoided if safety precautions had been properly followed at each of the respective sites before work commenced,” Ms Hughson said.

“Hopefully, they can serve as important reminders for electricians and supervisors to ensure that worksites are safe.” 

Details: esv.vic.gov.au.

Media contact: Simon Kinniburgh