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Electrician hospitalised after failing to isolate power to switchboard

Tuesday, 18 July 2023 at 11:35 pm

Energy Safe Victoria is reminding electrical workers to never work live after an electrician was hospitalised with burns from an explosion in the switchboard he was working on.

The licensed electrical worker was at a Clifton Hill property on Tuesday, 4 July when he pierced a live cable with his pliers, causing an explosion, which left him with burns on his left hand.

He was taken to The Alfred hospital and has since been sent home.

While the electrician had turned off the power to the property via the circuit breakers before starting work, he did not remove the service fuse, which would have isolated the electricity supply to the switchboard.

As a result, when the pliers pierced live cables and contacted the metal switchboard, an explosion occurred.

Energy Safe CEO Leanne Hughson called on all electrical workers to ensure power was turned off before starting electrical work.

The energy safety regulator’s Never Work Live campaign reminds all electrical workers to ensure they, isolate the electrical supply before starting electrical work.

“We often investigate matters like this where electricians are not correctly identifying or testing live electrical equipment, placing themselves and others at a greater risk of injury,” Ms Hughson said.

Energy Safe investigated the death of an electrician at a Pakenham restaurant in October 2021 who was believed to be working on or near live electrical cables.

Energy Safe and Victoria’s electricity distributors have created a guide for the safe removal and reinsertion of service fuses. Details: victoriansir.org.au/_files/ugd/9815c9_a5bd9639151c46279642dfdb55d8db3c.pdf

Update 18 June 2024

The guide link has been updated and can be found here: https://www.victoriansir.com.au/_files/ugd/9815c9_a5bd9639151c46279642dfdb55d8db3c.pdf

For more information go to esv.vic.gov.au/about-us/media-centre/campaigns/never-work-live.

Media contact: Adrian Bernecich 0437 729 194