WorkSafe has issued an alert that provides information for mine operators about how to apply safety systems and fit protective devices onto electrical equipment to avert electric shock and electrocution.
There have been twelve reported incidents since the beginning of 2012 of mine employees receiving electric shocks and flash burns after exposure to live electrical apparatus within Victoria.
For the most part, workers only received minor tingles in these incidents however they could have ended in serious injury and possibly death.
The factors that were common to these reported incidents:
- The equipment worked on was live and there were no standard operating procedures
- Faulty equipment was being used
- Accidental contact with the live electrical equipment either near water or in damp conditions
There was some type of safety system in place at all mines but the incidents may have been prevented with proper control measures.
All operators of mines need to make sure that every electrical hazard is recognized and risk control measures are put into place such as:
- Installing and using safety switches
- Regular inspections and testing that are appropriate to the equipment and the environment that it is used in
- Properly rated Ingress Protection (IP) equipment should be used
- Enforce restricted access to live electrical apparatus
- All personnel performing electrical work must be properly qualified
- Appropriate site-specific training re permits and lock out/ tag out systems
- Put into place standard operating procedures for fault finding, switching and isolating
- The proper PPE should always be used including gloves, face shield, full-length clothing, footwear and rubber mats.
Basic precautions need to be followed at all time for electrical work which includes electrical testing, fault finding and resetting tripped circuit breakers such as:
- Test (before you touch) to confirm the condition of the installation and positive confirmations of isolations
- Always make sure that the appropriate PPE is used
- All testing equipment being used is appropriate for the voltage
Energy Safe Victoria (ESV) – esv.vic.gov.au
Code of Practice for Safe Electrical Work Low Voltage Electrical Installations (ESV)
Code of Practice on Electrical Safety for Work on or Near High Voltage Electrical Apparatus (“Blue Book”) (ESV)
AS/NZS 4836:2011– Safe working on or near low-voltage electrical installations and equipment