Plumbing Apprentices receiving electric shocks from using electrical equipment or performing restricted electrical work.
In the last 6 months, several incidents have been reported by apprentice plumbers re-sulting in them receiving an electrical shock. Each incident has a different root cause and each has a learning we can take from it.
- An apprentice received an electric shock from his personal battery drill charger.
- An apprentice received an electric shock from the lead of an arc welder whilst working on a new construction. The insulation on the lead had deteriorated leaving exposed wires.
- An apprentice received an electric shock whilst removing the cover plate from an electric hot water tank. The tank had not been isolated.
- An apprentice received an electric shock while using an electric jackhammer. The handle broke exposing the internal wiring and the apprentice’s hand made contact with the terminals.
- An apprentice received an electric shock while holding a piece of copper pipe against the wall to measure the required length. He received the shock the moment his pipe made contact with the water pipe system.
- An apprentice received an electric shock when hacksawing into a down-pipe. Inside the downpipe were 6 sets of live electrical cables, where his hacksaw blade cut into 3 of them.
Check all electrical equipment before use for safety and suitability. Ensure the equip-ment is RCD-protected (fixed, or where that is not available a portable unit) and that the electrical item is in test date (recently tested and tagged). Electrical equipment used on construction sites must comply with AS/NZS3012 and tested on a 3-monthly basis.
When working on a hot water service ensure appropriate isolation procedures are in place as per your Restricted Electrical License training. Always check to ensure the hot water service is isolated before working on it . Never take someone else’s word for it.
Under AS/NZS 3000, the plumbing system must be bonded to the main earth of the electrical wiring system to prevent the possibility of a rise of voltage on the water pipes. In the event you find a rise of voltage, then SWSA and OTR MUST be notified immediately, the site secured, and the fault rectified by a licensed electrical worker.
Finally, the wearing of protective gloves offers a degree of insulation from any electri-cal energy source.