Safety alert issued over electrical safety risks in ceiling spaces

A safety alert has been issued to highlight the potential electrical safety risks when entering and working in ceiling spaces of commercial and residential buildings.

NT WorkSafe issued the alert following an incident in which a worker running fibre optic cable in a ceiling space received an electric shock after making contact with damaged electrical wiring.

The safety alert said the worker had lost the battery from his torch and was trying to find it in the dark when his hand touched a section of electrical wiring which had been damaged by rodents.

It said the worker was extracted from the ceiling space and taken for medical observation. He was later cleared of any medical effects resulting from the shock.

Power was not switched off at the switchboard and electrical wiring in the ceiling space had been damaged by rodents.

According to NT WorkSafe, before entering a ceiling space, switch off all power at the switchboard and take steps to prevent the power from being switched back on until the ceiling space has been vacated.

You should also conduct a risk assessment of the ceiling space and identify any hazards before entering to start work. Hazards could include:

  • Rodents or reptiles such as snakes
  • High temperatures
  • Sharp objects in roof trusses and ceiling joists, such as protruding screws and nails.
  • Location of water pipes and electrical wiring, including wiring from solar panels.

Electrical wiring supplying the switchboard are live unless the property has been disconnected. Supply cables from the solar panels to the inverter unit will be live when the solar panels are generating electricity.

Don’t work alone, let someone who is onsite and contactable, know that you are entering the ceiling space and how long you will be.

For more information, visit NT WorkSafe website.

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