Case study: Electrical safety at the centre of work practices legislation

electical worker inspecting panel

Our role as regulator has resulted in the following significant achievement.

Electrical safety at the centre of work practices legislation

Electricians and other workers are now operating in safer conditions after strengthened compulsory regulations for work on energised (live) electrical equipment came into force in May 2018.

In the past five years, four electrical workers in Western Australia have lost their lives and others have been seriously injured in incidents linked to energised electrical equipment.

In the wake of these tragedies, amendments were made to strengthen and clarify relevant sections of the Occupational Safety and Health Regulations 1996 and the Electrical (Licensing) Regulations 1991.

The updated rules prohibit electrical work on or near live electrical installations and equipment, except for rare circumstances where the equipment needs to remain energised. In these exceptional cases, strict control measures must be implemented to ensure the work can be done safely.

The regulations also stipulate that the electricity main switch must be turned off and locked out before any workers enter the ceiling space of a domestic property. This legislation applies to all workers, including electricians, insulation installers and other tradespeople.

The department’s Building and Energy Group and WorkSafe published a Code of Practice and a guidance note to assist employers and workers with the amended regulations.