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New campaign to reduce risk electrical work

Published: 9 November 2020
Released by: Minister for Better Regulation and Innovation

Ensuring electricians are operating safely will form a vital part of a new NSW Government compliance campaign targeting electrical safety issues on construction sites.

Electrician installing air conditioner

Minister for Better Regulation, Kevin Anderson, said for the rest of 2020, Safework NSW inspectors will be conducting drop-in inspections across a range of sites to check they have the right controls in place to manage electrical risks.

“This campaign is part of our mission to eradicate serious and potentially fatal injuries in the industry,” Mr Anderson said.

“Our inspectors will be turning up on sites across the State to make sure all the right measures are in place to protect both the sparkies and those working with them.”

Inspectors will be focusing on ensuring workers maintain appropriate distances from overhead powerlines and are implementing the required safety controls in accordance with the energy provider. They will also be checking that temporary wiring meets the correct standards and other electrical tools such as power tools and RCD boards are managed correctly.

They will also be checking that those doing electrical work are appropriately licenced, that temporary wiring on construction sites meets the correct standards and electrical tools such as power tools are managed correctly.

“Electrical work is complex and must always be done by a licensed professional, regardless of the cost and whether the work is residential, commercial or industrial.”

Since 2017 SafeWork NSW has investigated 34 serious electrical incidents with seven of these being fatalities.

“Three of the primary causes of these incidents were contact with overhead powerlines, and unsafe or aged wiring.”

Along with providing education on best practices, inspectors will have the power to issue improvement, prohibition and penalty notices against those doing the wrong thing.

“If you see anything dodgy on site, take a picture and send it directly to SafeWork for follow up via our app Speak up, Save Lives.”

The project will commence on 9 November and run until 30 December.

For more information and advice on how to deal with electrical issues on construction sites please see SafeWork’s fact sheet on electrical risks at the workplace.

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