Electrical hazard laws now in force

It may seem like it should have always been obvious but, as of this week, it is now law for the electricity mains switch to be off before any work is done in domestic ceiling spaces.

An additional OSH regulation came into effect on Tuesday.

Tradespeople are now required, by law, to switch the main switch off before entering the ceiling space to any domestic-type building. This includes for service trades such as electrical, gas, pest control workers and installers of air conditioning, insulation, security systems and antennas.

Roof space electrocutions were highlighted in 2009 and 2010, when four insulation installers were electrocuted in roof spaces in Queensland and NSW during the Rudd Government’s Home Insulation Program.

While the new laws do not relate to homeowners accessing their own roof spaces, CCIWA strongly recommends that they also switch off the electricity mains first, as good practice.

CCI Safety and Risk Services Senior Consultant Rachael Lincoln welcomed the regulation upgrade.

“This roof space becomes their workplace, and the safety of workers is paramount, despite the minor inconvenience this creates to the residents,” she said.

“Leaving the mains electricity on while working in the roof space puts health and safety at risk and is, now, breaking the law.”

A roof space may have a number of electrical hazards, including wiring with damaged insulation or exposed live parts – which pose an electric shock or electrocution risk.

“LED headlamps are a great way to provide lighting for anyone entering their roof space, to help avoid stepping on electrical cables, plastic junction boxes or tops of light fittings,” she said.

For full details visit OSH Regulations 3.59A. 3.59B for specific requirements.

For more information about what these changes mean for your business contact CCI’s Safety team on (08) 9365 7415 or email osh@cciwa.com.

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