Top 10 Tips for Electricians to Stay Alive

In my last article/blog, I spoke of the things that line workers and electricians should do to stay out of court and goal. In this article I look at the things that electricians should do if they want to go home at the end of the day to their loved ones:

Always lock out/tag out using proper equipment

1. ALWAYS work de-energised – working ‘live’ is life threatening and against the law. It is just not worth your life. Schedule work when it can be de-energised.
2. ALWAYS Lock Out/Tag Out – make sure you lock out and tag out the right isolation device using proper lock out devices. Never use insulation tape over the device.

3. TEST before touching – always prove what you are about to touch is de-energised. Using a proximity tester first is a good idea, followed by a multimeter. Prove both test instruments before and after no-go tests using a known source or a proving unit. Testing de-energised is regarded as ‘live’ work and therefore requires extensive controls including the right arc flash rated PPE.

4. DON’T test live e.g. taking voltage readings – what was once OK, but is no longer so. Options to minimise the risks include connecting the test instrument whilst the circuit is de-energised, turning on for the test and then turning off to disconnect the test equipment. Permanently mounted test equipment is best.

Permanently installed test equipment is best

5. DON’T defeat isolator handle interlocks – doing so will breach WHS legal requirements. Isolator handle interlocks are a safety device that should only be used if the isolator can’t be opened because of a mechanical reason e.g. the contacts have welded shut.
6. DON’T remove Perspex covers with the supply on – these covers have been installed for your safety. Don’t remove them or you are again defeating a safety feature and are likely to be breaking WHS laws.
7. DON’T remove sub-board escutcheon panels with the supply on – this is regarded as ‘live’ work and against WHS laws.
8. ISOLATE the electricity supply before entering roof spaces – this is a legal requirement in WA. Dale Kennedy was a 3rd year apprentice when he was electrocuted in the roof space at a school in Cairns. They had asked to turned the power off but were refused at that time. The work should have been rescheduled.
9. CARRY OUT de-energised testing first when fault finding – this is basically a legal requirement but also sensible if you want to go home at the end of the working day.
10. NEVER CLOSE miniature or moulded case circuit breakers after a short circuit at rated short circuit current without knowledge of the C/B’s condition – these circuit breakers are good for 3 trips at rated short-circuit current.

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