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Three electric incidents and a death in two months ‘too much’, Energy Safe Chief

Energy Safe Victoria CEO Leanne Hughson is calling on the electrical industry to take better account of electrical safety and occupational health and safety after four serious incidents in only two months – including the death of an electrical worker.

Wednesday 13 September 2023 at 3:44 am

An electrical worker fell from an incomplete stair void scaffold system at a domestic construction site last Tuesday (5 September) and died from his injuries.

This follows 3 serious electrical incidents:

  • On 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.
  • On 22 July, a 29-year-old electrician was hospitalised with burns caused by an arc fault from a live switchboard at a Burwood East office complex. The electrician’s gloves melted into his skin after he made contact with live switchboard components.
  • On 30 August, a switchboard tester suffered an electric shock and was resuscitated after coming into contact with live electrical equipment when carrying out live testing of a newly manufactured switchboard.

“Our thoughts are with the family friends and colleagues of the electrician who died,” Ms Hughson said. “This is a tragedy that should not have happened.”

“Three serious injuries and a fatality is too much in too short a space of time. These incidents could have been avoided if proper electrical safety and occupational health and safety precautions were taken.

“Even one death or serious injury is one too many. To have so many in such a short space of time is unacceptable. 

“While the circumstances around these incidents are under investigation, all electrical workers should know the basics of electrical safety.. No-one should be working live. Electricity supply should be isolated before electrical work starts and effective supervision should be provided to all electrical workers particularly apprentices.”

Electrical workers should ensure an assessment of potential risks has been conducted before commencing work, taking the time to identify possible risk factors such as:

  • isolating electricity supply to ensure electrical risks are eliminated before works commence
  • ensuring appropriate personal protective equipment is used when assessing an installation or live testing
  • the age of the installation and understanding the configuration.

More information:

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