66 - Preventing Electrical Incidents 10 Golden Steps

Safety Alert # 66

Date: November 25, 2016

Preventing Electrical Incidents - 10 Golden Steps

Every year, for the last six years at EGT, on average, around five Electrical Apprentices have sustained an electrical shock in the course of learning the trade and undertaking electrical installation and maintenance tasks. A number of the electrical shock incidents were sufficiently serious that death could have resulted, but fortunately, did not. As a result of investigation into all the electrical shock incidents, Field Officers and OSH Consultants for EGT consistently find, in the significant majority of cases that, human failure is the primary reason for the electrical shock incidents to have occurred. This means, had Electrical Apprentices completed the necessary and mandatory actions by way of risk assessment, Identification of circuits, isolation, lock out – tag out and test prior to touching (IITT) to confirm that the circuit was DEAD, then, the electrical shock incidents could have been prevented.

Luck, complacency, carelessness, familiarity, over-confidence and not following required practices and procedures play no part in managing and preventing electrical shock incidents. An Electrical Apprentice can’t see it, smell it or taste it, but you can feel it when it hits you - Electricity kills. YOU MUST complete the following “Recommendations” each and every time prior to working on electrical circuits.


  1. Ensure you arrive for work rested, alert and not affected by alcohol and / or drugs - Fit for Work;
  2. Ensure you understand the work you are about to undertake. If you don’t, ask questions of your supervising electrician to ensure you know what you are required to do;
  3. Review, understand and sign onto all Job Safety Analysis, Safe Work Method Statements and any other required risk assessment document covering the work you are to undertake. If you don’t understand something, ask questions until you do understand;
  4. Complete your personal risk assessment (RAC) or other approved personal risk assessment (e.g. Take 5). Make sure you identify all hazards and risks and in particular, all sources of electrical energy energising the circuit/s your about to work on and put in place the necessary controls. Note: Your supervising electrician is responsible for the process of isolation and he or she should work through the isolation process (IITT) with you and verify it is complete before allowing you to proceed with work. The process is summarised as; 1. Identify the circuits to be isolated, 2. De-energise and lock out at the isolation point, 3. All those working on the circuit are to place danger tags at the isolation point, 4. Complete final testing to confirm the isolation (with meter).
  5. After identifying the circuit and isolating, place your danger tag at the locked out isolation point;
  6. WITHOUT FAIL, test your voltstick on a known source to ensure it is working correctly;
  7. WITHOUT FAIL, use your voltstick in accordance with the method you have been shown by EGT to test the circuit (before you touch it) to make sure that the circuit has been isolated and is dead;
  8. WITHOUT FAIL, check your voltstick again on a known source to verify it worked for step 7,
  9. Providing you understand the scope of work and that the circuit you’re about to work on is dead - proceed with the work ensuring any subsequent questions you have about the work are directed to the supervising electrician.
  10. If you feel you are not being supervised appropriately or, your questions are not being answered suitably to enable you to work safely, immediately contact your Field Officer.


For questions or queries, you can contact your Field Officer or the EGT OSH Team on 6241 6100.