Research from the ABS shows that work-related injuries are most likely to occur when you are in your mid-to-late career; in the 50-54-year-old age bracket. The second highest period of risk is in your early 20s.
For electrical workers, these periods coincide with times in your professional career when you’re just starting out in the trade or when you are most likely established in the profession and could be directly supervising young apprentices or newly qualified workers.
These times are also important in your personal life. Perhaps you’re starting a new family or branching out on your own; or, if you’re in your 50s, hopefully, the house is almost paid off, maybe an investment property is starting to kick in. Life is full of possibilities. And that’s why you should never work live, this includes working on or near live electrical equipment.
Never Work Live is a safety campaign from Energy Safe Victoria reminding all electrical workers of the dangers of working live and the importance of ensuring safe conditions are in place before starting work. It’s aimed at all electrical workers, but given that we know some groups are at higher risk than others, it’s worth putting yourself in those shoes even for a moment.
Starting a career in the electrical industry is an exciting time in your life, with the majority of VET-trained electricians starting work in the construction services and building construction sectors. The rise of prevocational training courses and certification requirements are designed to ensure new starters have the best start in the job with mandatory modules in workplace safety practice.
Even with the best training, new starters are at higher risk of workplace injury. Jobsites are high-pressure environments where workers need to overcome a range of challenges that you just can’t prepare for in the classroom.
For apprentices, there are tasks that require direct supervision, such as isolating and testing switchboards. They will also have lots of questions and at times test your skill and, perhaps, patience.
Everyone has the right to a safe and fair workplace, and to understand the job and the safety measures in place to protect the lives of workers. You might have much more experience of the pressure to get the work done, but that’s no excuse to cut corners.
No one should work live. Nothing is too urgent or important to take precedence over health and safety. Life is fragile, especially when we are taking our first steps, like starting a family or beginning a trade.
- Take the time to understand what safety steps are in place
- Include everyone when you are planning and discussing the job
- Always disconnect the electrical supply before starting work
- Use accepted lockout, tag-out procedures (LOTO)
- Never cut corners, never work live
Don’t forget you might have the experience, but experiences don’t count for much if you’re not alive to recall them.
Life’s fragile. Don’t blow it.
Never work live.