Victoria’s Electrical Industry Safety Focus Campaign Blitz
Phillys Edwards, HSEQ Manager, NECA, 25/06/18
Over the last year within the electrical industry, there have been sustained fatalities of young electricians that could have been preventable and avoidable in all investigated incidents.
Throughout our electrical industry this month, a campaign is being enforced to do a deep dive into our safety standard and practices throughout Victoria. The safety focus campaign will challenge electrical contractors in being able to verify their safe systems of work and provide the necessary documentation to verify the processes in place across all project sites.
In most circumstances, electricians work with safety systems of work implementing isolation safety practices diligently. However, it is the narrow window of risk taking measures that still do exist resulting in devastating injuries.
Worksafe Inspectors are currently visiting construction and domestic project sites, to ensure duty holders are controlling risks associated with electrocution and electric shock.
Inspectors will be checking that:
- Builders and their electrical contractors are complying with the Industry Standard - Electrical installation on construction sites and the No-Go-Zone rules for overhead and underground electrical assets.
- Safe Work Method Statement (SWMS) is completed in particular, for work on or near the energised electrical installations or services.
- Registered Electrical Contractors (RECs) having procedures in place to ensure electricians do not work on an energised installation and that apprentice electricians are suitably supervised.
Inspectors will routinely take enforcement action in relation to, for example, the following electrical safety issues, including but not limited to:
- Portable electrical equipment being inspected and maintained (tested and tagged)
- Residual Current Devices (RCD) being inspected and tested at the required intervals Breaching the ‘No-Go-Zone’ of overhead powerlines
- Live permanent wiring onsite has not been identified
- Electrical equipment or wiring has not been de-energised when working on or near it
- SWMS are missing, inadequate or not followed when undertaking work on or near energised electrical installation or services.
- Controlling electricity risks (for electricians) Working on or near an energised electrical installation or service to not start until a SWMS is prepared, given the high risk construction work (HRCW) involved.
The SWMS document must:
- Identify work that is High Risk Work Activity
- State the hazards and risks to health or safety,
- Sufficiently describe control measures to mitgiate the risks, and
- Describe the manner in which the risk control measures are to be implemented.
An electrical contractor (including a self-employed person) must stop the work immediately or as soon as it is safe to do so if a SWMS is not being followed. REC should identify procedures and controls in their SWMS for:
- De-energisation and re-energisation,
- Ensuring de-energisation is maintained for the duration of the work, and
- Safely performing verification tests and tests for live.
It's possible to create a hazard free workplace within our industry. Even though research has shown that over 99% of all workplace accidents are avoidable. The key to identifying and mitigating risk is carrying out thorough risk assessments and putting the correct procedures in place.
Would you agree?
Share your views, examples and feedback on what can we do differently to ensure we protect all our industry employees.