Safety Alert 111 - Working Safely Around Electricity

Why another safety alert about electrical safety? Our Safety Alerts are designed to combat the most common incidents faced by our apprentices.  

Unfortunately, there has been an increase in the number of reported electric shock incidents. Accordingly, 50% of our Safety Alerts in the last 12 months have been electrical safety related.

Although the circumstances around these incidents varies, wearing the correct PPE and following the correct testing and isolation procedures could have prevented most of these incidents from occurring.

Despite the number of Safety Alerts we distribute to remind everyone about our electrical safety policies and recommendations, including information about volt stick usage and isolation and testing procedures, there are still too many apprentices who are not changing their behaviour and working safer.

In addition to EGT’s increased electrical incident numbers, our industry had a fatal incident in July 2023 and early reports from Building & Energy indicate that this incident could have been avoided if the recommended isolation requirements had been followed.

One more death in our industry is one too many – we NEVER want to see this happen again, and especially want to avoid such a tragedy affecting our apprentices and host employers.

Our industry is high-risk!

Never forget that the electrical Industry is inherently a high-risk industry, with workers facing many dangerous hazards every day.

As such, our industry is highly regulated to keep workers safe. These regulations outline many things, however some of the most critical regulations are:

  1. The electrical licencing regulations state there is to be NO LIVE WORK, unless under strict circumstances, where approval is required, specific safety equipment is to be used and procedures must be followed.
  2. Legislation also requires ALL workers to isolate all energy sources before entering any domestic roof space.


General electrical safety

There are many electrical hazards that can be found in the workplace, these become more serious when you are working with the electricity system itself, as we all do.

It is important to have a high level of respect for electricity and remain adequately informed and aware of your work area. Electricity is a deadly hazard. It can’t be smelt, seen or heard and by the time you feel it, it could be too late. This is why it is critical that electrical workers follow a strict isolation procedure at all times.

Safety Alert 106: Isolation (never work live) which covers EGT’s Test Before You Touch (IITT) procedure in detail.

Safety Alert 95 – Volt Sticks describes EGT’s volt stick procedures and recommendations. As an EGT apprentice, you should always have your volt stick available and know how to use and maintain it correctly.

Remember that a volt stick should not be used during isolation procedures. This should always be carried out by your tradesperson with a suitable meter. Your volt stick should only be used to check that the object you are about to touch is not live/energised.

Why must all power be isolated prior to entering the roof space?

There are many electrical hazards that can be found in the roof space that are potentially life threatening. Many of these hazards hide amongst thermal insulation or in the spaces that are not visible, such as eave space. Potential roof space hazards include:

  • Exposed live electrical conductors or wiring;
  • Unenclosed joints in conductors;
  • Deteriorated electrical cabling (more common in older buildings);
  • Substandard and/or unsafe electrical work completed prior to you entering a roof space;
  • Damaged cables (e.g. chewed by rodents); and
  • Metallised foil insulation which may have become energised due to poor installation practices.


What do you need to do?

Before commencing work:

  • Ensure you have conducted your risk assessment and identified all hazards.
  • Follow your IITT Checklist to isolate correctly, where needed.
  • For domestic work, always isolate all sources of electricity before entering the roof space – this is the law and it is not negotiable.
  • Attach your own personal lock-out and danger tag to any isolation point(s).
  • Test before you touch, always, even if you believe the source has been isolated.
  • Remain aware of your surroundings and always be on the lookout for potential hazards that may arise.


Further Resources

Code of Practice

Guidance Note - Working in Roof Spaces

Electricity (Licensing) Regulations 1991

EGT's Volt Stick Policy and Guidelines for Apprentices

EGT's General Policies

EGT's No Working Live Policy

EGT Safety Alert 106 (No Working Live)

Youtube Logo - Free Vectors & PSDs to Download

How to Complete the IITT Checklist (Video)

EGT Safety Alert 95 (Volt Sticks)


For further information regarding this Safety Alert, please contact EGT on (08) 6241 6100 or speak with your Field Officer.

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