Be aware of electrical dangers during Easter DIY jobs

Easter brings out the opportunity to DIY, but Energy Minister Dr Anthony Lynham just wants everyone to keep safety top of mind before they break out the toolbox and ladder.

More than 70 per cent of the deaths from electric shocks in 2014-2016 were in households.

“As a keen DIY type and a doctor, I know safety is paramount,” Dr Lynham said.

“A few simple rule will help make sure you finish the job, rather than ending up in an accident and emergency department, or worse, over the holidays.

“And of all the hazards associated with home renovations, electricity is not only the best concealed, but also the most dangerous.”

His key safety tips are:

  • Don’t dig blindly.

With an increasing amount of the electricity network now underground, people should become familiar with their property’s electrical network before establishing garden beds or digging holes for a fence post.

In yards with underground power, cables will generally run in a direct line from the green pillar box on the footpath to the meter box, but if there is any doubt on the location of the underground cable a licensed electrician will be able to find the exact position.

If digging outside the fence line, call the ‘Dial before you dig’ number 1100 so specially trained staff can give the details of the cable layout near the property.

  • Take care; stay line aware

If you are cleaning a roof, trimming a tree or carrying large objects such as ladders, get someone else to “spot” for you – ensuring you maintain a safe distance away from powerlines.

“There are very few second chances when coming into contact with any mains electricity.

And the biggest no-no: attempting electrical work.

While handymen and women all over the state will have a go at many tasks around the home this Easter, Energex and Ergon Energy’s Lawrie Zarb said under no circumstances should they attempt electrical work.

“Putting it simply, electricity is a killer and unqualified people who attempt electrical work around the home are not only taking theirs and other’s lives in their hands, they are breaking the law,” he said.

“So any electrical work at all, no matter how small, should only ever be undertaken by a licensed electrician.”

Other safety tips include:

  • When painting around light fittings, don’t remove the light plate. This exposes live wires even when the light is switched off.
  • When tiling around light fittings, switches or power points, get a licensed electrician to remove the light plates and deactivate any exposed wires before you begin.
  • Check for wires before drilling into walls, floors and ceilings, especially around power points and light switches. When a metal drill comes into contact with concealed wiring it can spell disaster, so always make sure you know where wires run first.

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