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SafeWork NSW inspectors are targeting electrical safety

Minister for Better Regulation, Kevin Anderson, has announced that SafeWork NSW inspectors are targeting electrical safety, as part of our ongoing focus on reducing fatalities and serious injuries in the construction industry.

Since 2017, SafeWork NSW has investigated 34 contact with electricity incidents with seven of these being fatalities. 21 of these incidents were in the construction industry including 4 of the fatalities.

The highest risk areas are overhead powerlines and unsafe wiring, including temporary wiring and equipment.

Inspectors will be speaking with principal contractors, site supervisors, and health and safety representatives state-wide to ensure workers are safe when it comes to:
  • Overhead and underground power
  • Temporary wiring, including distribution cables and boards
  • Residual current devices (RCDs)
  • Temporary lighting
  • Leads and power tools.

Inspectors will also be checking electrical workers licence/qualifications and supervision levels, and making referrals to Fair Trading where required.

What you can do

Employers and site supervisors can ensure:
  • all electrical work on-site is conducted by a licenced electrician
  • all electrical equipment is tested and tagged and used in conjunction with a residual current device (RCD or safety switch)
  • temporary electrical installations and equipment are maintained and tested by a licenced electrician
  • before erecting scaffold or using mobile or fixed plant near overhead powerlines (within 4m), the electricity network owner has been contacted and the prescribed control measures in place
  • if excavation works are being conducted on-site, ensure a Dial Before You Dig (DBYD) search has been undertaken, pothole to identify the location and depth, and protect the infrastructure before proceeding. Remember: If You Don’t Know – Don’t Dig
  • workers are trained and supervised, particularly young or inexperienced workers
  • workers work from the ground where possible and use the appropriate falls from heights protection equipment where needed.
For more information on electrical safety on construction sites, see:

-Electrical practices – construction and demolition fact sheet https://www.safework.nsw.gov.au/resource-library/construction/electrical-services/electrical-practices-construction-and-demolition-sites-fact-sheet

-Minister for Better Regulation, Kevin Anderson, media release https://www.safework.nsw.gov.au/news/safework-media-releases/new-campaign-to-reduce-risky-electrical-work

Also see www.safework.nsw.gov.au or call 13 10 50.