Be Aware of Electrical Hazards on Worksites


All tradies are being reminded by Essential Energy about the potential electrical hazards on worksites.

Tradespeople, scaffolders and other construction workers are being reminded to stay safe around electricity.

According to Essential Energy’s General Manager Safety, HR and Environment, David Nardi, plant equipment and temporary structures should be kept well clear of the elctricity network.

Tradies need to be aware of the location of powerlines, whether overheard or undergroung before beginning work.

The company also suggests all workers undergo onsite safety induction training before commencing work.

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Electrical Hazards a Huge Risk to Construction Workers

queensland paramedic

Electrical hazards are among the top 3 most common on construction sites, causing thousands of injuries every year. Construction workers are some of the most vulnerable to electrical hazards, one of the reasons why mandatory construction induction training addresses this issue.

While electricians are most at risk, everyone on a construction site is at danger of being electrocuted in certain situations.

It is up to the employer or person undertaking the business to ensure that all workers have received adequate safety training covering electrical hazards as well. This training site specific training will teach workers about the hazards that are specific to their work site and job descriptions.

It is also important that workers are trained on the most common hazards they will face on the construction site, that is why the white card course has been made mandatory for all construction workers.

Here’s another case of electrocution on a  construction site,

Man electrocuted on Construction Site

Emergency services rush a man to hospital from a property in Rosewood Queensland after giving him a lifesaving shock. Photo source: Claudia Baxter,

An amazing story has emerged involving a roofer who suffered an electric shock and 3m fall while working on a property in Rosewood, Queensland. Miraculously the man was brought back to life after his heart stopped as a result of a 30 second electrical shock which he suffered after drilling a screw through a corrugated iron roof and into a live electrical wire.

The 35 year old worker is lucky to be alive after he suffered the electric shock which caused his heart to stop beating as well as suffering a fall to the ground and a laceration.

This post from explains:

IQT_14-08-2013_NEWS_02_ELEC13A_t460A MAN was brought back to life by his workmates and paramedics after his heart stopped following a terrifying electrical accident at a worksite west of Ipswich.

The roofer was on top of a property in Mill St, Rosewood, when he drilled a screw through a corrugated iron roof and into a live electrical wire at 10am on Tuesday.

When the 35-year-old then touched the guttering he received an electric shock for some 30 seconds, before falling three metres to the ground.


It is believed that the efforts of the victim’s co-workers were instrumental in keeping him alive. The crew on site were fast to help the man and begin CPR on him, while others quickly called paramedics.

It is important that workers on construction sites are adequately trained and aware of emergency response procedures for situations such as this one, so that they react quickly and correctly especially when there are lives at stake. This man was lucky that his crew were quick thinking and acted so fast, which paramedics say probably saved his life.

The article goes on to explain:

His workmates performed CPR for five desperate minutes before an ambulance arrived.

Within a minute of arriving, paramedics gave the man a single shock from a defibrillator, which restarted his heart.

Ipswich intensive care paramedic David Martin said the man’s heart was not beating when the first ambulance crew arrived at the rural property.

He said the CPR performed by his workmates had kept his blood flowing.

“The quick actions of his colleagues, noticing he was being electrocuted and calling us, made a huge difference towards a positive outcome,” he said.

Mr Martin added that ensuring the man’s blood was still flowing had increased his chances of making a good recovery.

“In the chain of survival it is important to get early CPR,” he said.


The article goes on to explain that an hour after this incident occurred, a second worker complained on a minor electric shock and had to be treated by paramedics. The 27 year old worker was treated for minor abdominal complaints and taken to hospital for treatment. Workplace Health and Safety authorities are investigating the incident.


Construction Hazards that Necessitate White Card Training

In addition to fulfilling a mandatory legal requirement, completing the white card course is important for construction workers to ensure they are familiar with the hazards presented by construction work.

Every site is different and some hazards may be present on one which aren’t present on another, that is precisely why general construction safety training is necessary, to ensure workers are educated on the most common hazards that exist whether or not they have come across the hazard before.

One of the hazards covered by general construction safety training, known as the white card is electrical hazards because this is one of the most common hazards that workers will be forced to contend with during building activities. Sadly the death toll due to electrical hazards is high especially on construction sites.

A common cause of injury and death on construction sites is electric shocks. Workers can be exposed to various hazards that may result in electrical shocks and workers need to be aware of all of them and how to control these hazards if necessary. That is why White Card training is so important.

One of those hazards is contact with overhead power lines. Accidental contact with live overhead power lines kills people and causes many serious injuries every year. People are also harmed when a person or object gets too close to a line and a flashover occurs. Work involving high vehicles or long equipment is particularly high risk.

All electrical hazards need to be identified before work begins and the risks associated with the hazards need to be addressed. Once the risk to workers is assessed, these hazards should be eliminated – this however is not always practicable. Activities associated with electrical shocks should be substituted with a less hazardous activity if possible and if not, the risk associated with them should be minimised. Implementing the appropriate control measures to minimise the risks is vital to preventing worker injuries as is ensuring workers are efficiently trained on these hazards and control measures.

An incident which occurred recently is an example of why electrical hazards should be taken seriously on building sites and why safety training is so important. The accident happened when a man was electrocuted by power lines while working on the Pacific Palms network near Forster. The man was an employee of Essential Energy and died after he received an electric shock on Monday morning last week. The 47 year old man was engaged in work around 10:30am on Monday when the accident occurred. Although emergency personnel rushed to the scene to administer first aid the man could not be revived.

An article on went on to explain:

“Our deepest condolences are with the family, loved ones and work mates of our employee,” an Essential Energy spokesperson said in a statement on Monday.

Minister for Resources and Energy Chris Hartcher said he was “deeply saddened” to hear of the death.

“My thoughts go out to the employee’s family, friends and colleagues at this difficult time,” he said in a statement.

Essential Energy is working with NSW Police and WorkCover to determine the circumstances surrounding the man’s death.

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Electrical Safety Update

In light of multiple electrical accidents which having been taking place recently, many of which have proven fatal, it is important that we recap general electrical safety on the construction site. Although the subject of electrical safety is too vast to cover in just one article, I have included some general electrical safety tips for workers on a construction site in general or those working near electrical hazards.

A 25 year old electrician recently died after being electrocuted while on a renovation site at a private residence in the Gippsland town of Yallourn North.  The details of the accident haven’t been released as yet, as WorkSafe investigators are still looking into the incident but it is useful for construction workers to know how to avoid electrical injuries.

Site controllers should begin by conducting a risk assessment for the work to be undertaken and ensure that this cover electrical hazards as well, they may be vast but it is easy to overlook certain hazards.

Workers need to learn how to recognise electrical wires whether they be in the form of power lines, electrical wiring exposed on the site due to work processes being undertaken or cables buried underground.

Workers should look for electrical wires, cables or equipment near where they are going to work and check for signs warning of dangers from electricity or any other hazard. It is best to be aware and remember to look up, down and around you.

Workers that are digging or disturbing the earth or cutting surfaces, using excavators or other machinery to penetrate the ground, use a cable locator to locate buried electrical wires and permanently mark the position of those that you find.

Also work as far away from electrical wiring as possible. If you must work near electrical wiring or equipment, ensure that the electrical supply is turned off. Make sure the power is off and cannot be turned on again without you being aware and agreeing. There have been countless workers who were electrocuted because the electricity supply was unexpectedly turned on.

Identify where it is safe to work. Put up danger notices where there are still live electrical circuits, and warn your co-workers where it is safe to work and where it is not safe. Remember to remove notices at the end of the work.

If the electrical power has been turned off to allow you to do work safely, it is essential that the power stays off until you have finished work.

Another important consideration is that all workers are trained on general construction safety. This is a mandatory requirement and workers can complete this training online in the form of the White Card. The online White Card course covers Electrical Safety on the construction site in general.