Electrical work is dangerous. As a person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU), you have a duty to keep workers and your workplace safe from electrical risks.
An electrical risk is a risk to a person of death, shock or other injury caused directly or indirectly by electricity. The main hazards associated with these risks are:
- contact with exposed live parts causing electric shock and burns (for example exposed leads or other electrical equipment coming into contact with metal surfaces such as metal flooring or roofs)
- faults which could cause fires
- fire or explosion where electricity could be the source of ignition in a potentially flammable or explosive atmosphere (for example in a spray paint booth).
The risk of injury from electricity is strongly linked to where and how it is used. The risks are greatest in harsh conditions, for example:
- outdoors or in wet surroundings—equipment may become wet and may be at greater risk of damage
- in cramped spaces with earthed metalwork, such as inside a tank or bin—it may be difficult to avoid electrical shock if an electrical fault develops.
Some items of equipment can also involve greater risk than others. Portable electrical equipment is particularly liable to damage including to plugs and sockets, electrical connections and to the cable itself. Extension leads, particularly those connected to equipment which is frequently moved, can suffer from similar problems.
General duty to manage electrical risks
PCBUs must manage electrical risks at the workplace. When managing electrical risks, the risks must be eliminated so far as is reasonably practicable.
This includes ensuring the electrical euipment is in safe