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 Smh.com.au 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.