SafeWork NSW recently issued a safety alert reminding both electrical and non-electrical workers of the risks of electric shock when entering ceiling spaces of properties.
Electric shock arising from contact with damaged or exposed energised (live) wiring or equipment could lead to serious injury or death.
The alert was issued following an incident in which a licenced electrician died when undertaking electrical wiring work in the ceiling space of a residential duplex.
The incident occurred as a result of making contact with live electrical wiring.
In a separate incident a carpenter received a fatal electric shock when carrying out roof repairs on a residential property after coming in contact with damaged wiring that formed part of the electricity supply wiring to the meter box.
The alert said sources of electricity that may be present within a ceiling space include:
It recommended a number of required actions, and said that prior to entering any ceiling space:
Switching OFF power at the meter box does not turn off electricity supply from the street to the meter box.
This means the incoming overhead service lines and the consumer mains will still be live.
If you find any damaged wiring or appliances within the ceiling space, exit safely and report it to the owner or person in control of the property in order for proper repairs to be organised.
Isolating the solar power system at the inverter does not isolate all power. Power will continue to be generated by the panels and supplied to the inverter. This means the electrical wiring that connects the solar panels to the inverter will still be live.
Electrical work must only be carried out by a licensed electrician who has the necessary training and experience to undertake the task.