Top tips: maintaining electrical safety onsite


Tuesday, 19 September, 2023

Top tips: maintaining electrical safety onsite

Streamlined operations and onsite safety are essential for the protection of tradies working across Australia. With daily exposure to potential electrical hazards, understanding and employing some basic and advanced safety measures are critical both for worker safety and the integrity of the project at hand.

Knowing how to follow proper procedures protects electricians in more ways than one — not only do they stay safe onsite, but it also makes sure the job is done right.

Below are five practical tips from Fergus — which recently partnered with the National Electrical and Communications Association (NECA) — to help ensure safe and efficient electrical work on job sites.

1. Be prepared for emergencies

Emergencies can strike without warning. So, it is important to have first aid, CPR and specialised rescue techniques at the ready. Remember that even just 50 volts can be life-threatening. Tradies should regularly refresh their training to stay sharp, and schedule periodic retraining sessions so they don’t fall behind.

2. Wear proper safety gear

Never underestimate the protection that safety gear provides. Make sure to don hard hats, safety goggles, electrical-resistant gloves and non-conductive boots every time. Tradies should consider their clothing too — as it can be a barrier against risks like sweat meeting electricity. Make a checklist of essential safety gear and review it before starting any job, and make sure to replace ripped or broken gear immediately.

3. Practice common sense with equipment and workspaces

Always err on the side of caution. Treat every device as if it’s powered. If any damage is spotted — be it on cords, installations or plugs — report it straightaway. And remember, using another electrician’s tools without permission is a no-go. The workspace should always be kept neat, as a tidy space reduces the chances of accidents. At the end of each day, undertake a quick review of the workspace to ensure it’s clean and safe for the next day.

4. Conduct regular risk assessments

Before diving into a task, always evaluate the risks. By identifying and understanding potential hazards, workers will have a better idea of what to address first and can plan their work accordingly. Keep a risk assessment checklist on hand to ensure all the bases are covered.

5. Digital Safe Work Method Statement (SWMS)

Digitise the SWMS to enjoy the benefits of mobile safety planning. Adopting this digital approach will not only streamline onsite safety procedures but will also offer a more efficient way to implement and monitor them. With the software, contractors can easily list high-risk activities and assign tasks, potential dangers and control measures for each. This integration enhances onsite safety and efficiency, reducing administrative hurdles. Tradies should familiarise themselves with the features of the digital SWMS and integrate it into their daily workflow for better safety outcomes.

“Staying safe on the job should always be a priority for electricians. It’s about using the right tools and always following safety rules. By taking these precautions and leveraging tools like digital SWMS, electricians not only protect themselves but also uphold the standards and reputation of their profession. And while taking shortcuts might seem faster, it’s not worth the risk. Always prioritise safety — it’s an investment in your future and the future of the industry,” said David Holmes, CEO at Fergus.

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