If you are an apprentice or starting your career in the electrical industry, it’s likely you are in the second highest risk age group for workplace injury, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (2018).
People aged 20-24 years old are at greater risk of workplace injury than most other age groups. Chances are if you’re in this age group, you might be close to, or have recently completed, a VET-training course or apprenticeship course.
Since 2016, there have been five deaths of apprentices and newly qualified electricians in Victoria.
In the electrical industry, it doesn’t matter if you work in the home or on complex building sites. The chance of serious injury from electric shock, burns and in some cases death, by electrocution is real. This is why workplace safety is the cornerstone of any trade in the building and construction industries.
Starting to get out on the job brings with it plenty of challenges. There is a lot going on. While you’re trying to apply what you’ve learnt, you also need to follow directions and deal with the noise and mess that comes with working in a dynamic environment like a worksite.
On top of this, you might experience a new kind of pressure: the pressure to do what it takes to get the job done, even if it means cutting corners.
The pressure to cut corners can be driven by many different factors: it could be deadlines, competing priorities, or even company or personal bonuses for being on or ahead of schedule. In many cases, it can be difficult to pin-point where the pressure comes from.
There is also a terrific sense of momentum as things come together on a job and excitement from working in an environment of constant danger. All of these factors can increase your risk of injury at work.
While experience plays a big part in helping identify and head-off risks on the job, lack of experience doesn’t mean that your opinion isn’t valid, especially when it comes to your safety at work.
It might be a new challenge for you to speak up when you feel in a pressure situation. Especially around other workers who might be more experienced, confident with the environment and with each other.
- Speak up and ask questions during the planning process
- If you don’t know about something, ask! Believe no-one.
- Say no, if you need to or are unsure
- Test before you touch
- Check everything.
- Make sure the electrical supply has been disconnected before you start work
- Confirm isolations are correct and test with suitable instruments.
- For apprentices, the isolation must be carried out by a licensed person, or under direct supervision
When you speak up, remember that you bring a fresh pair of eyes, backed up with recent training in best practice in safety risk assessment and awareness.
Don’t take someone’s word for it; it’s your life that will be ruined if something goes wrong.
Life’s fragile. Don’t blow it.
Never work live.
[colored_box color=”yellow”]For more information, please visit www.esv.vic.gov.au/campaigns/never-work-live/[/colored_box]