Spate of tragic deaths prompts urgent warning on electrical safety

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1 September 2016

Master Electricians Australia has issued an urgent warning about electrical safety following a spate of tragic deaths in Victoria during 2016.

And electrical contractors have been challenged to avoid complacency and instead lead the way when it comes to electrical safety.

MEA Chief Executive Officer Malcolm Richards urged electrical contractors, other tradespeople and home owners to switch off the power at the mains before entering the ceiling to do any work.

“Ceilings are dangerous places, especially in older homes and buildings where electrical cables and fittings may have deteriorated over the years,” Mr Richards said.

“It is so simple to significantly boost the safety of anyone working in the roof space - just turn off the power at the switchboard before you go up there.

“While it’s not a 100 per cent guarantee, there is no doubt that it makes the roof space a much safer work environment.

“There have been far too many electrical deaths this year – particularly in Victoria. The tragedy of each one is that they could have been prevented with a little forward planning.

“We simply must get better at electrical safety as a nation, and today Master Electricians Australia challenges the contracting industry to set the example.”

Mr Richards also highlighted the need for greater use of electrical safety switches, which can turn off the flow of electricity in just a few thousands of a second if the circuit is interrupted.

Most Australian homes have safety switches on only one or two circuits, while some homes are only fitted with circuit breakers, which protect appliances and electrical fittings but not human beings.

“A safety switch will cut the flow of electricity faster than the critical phase of a heart beat,” Mr Richards said.

“In most of the electrical deaths we have seen this year, a safety switch would almost certainly have saved lives.

“We again call on politicians and bureaucrats to lift the standards and require a safety switch on all circuits in all Australian homes.

“But in the meantime, we urge home owners not to leave their lives and safety up to politicians. Safety switches are relatively low-cost devices, and they could save the lives of your loved ones. 

“Next time you are having electrical work done at home, ask your electrician to install safety switches on all circuits.”

Malcolm Richards is available for interviews. Call SAS Media and Communications on 0467 792 013.

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