As many West Australians fire up barbecues, plug in Christmas lights and tackle projects around the house this summer, Building and Energy has issued a safety reminder about potential gas and electrical hazards, including in roof spaces.
Director of Energy Safety Saj Khan said incorrectly maintained gas barbecues could cause fires, injuries and property damage – but simple checks could help to reduce the risks.
“Check the hose for cracks, kinks or flaws that could result in a gas leak,” he said.
“We also suggest spraying a solution of household detergent and water on all the exposed joints and connections. If bubbles appear, there is a gas leak.”
Look for a label on the barbecue showing its Australian safety certification and a stamp on the gas cylinder indicating when it was last tested – if this was more than 10 years ago it should be replaced or retested.
“Regular cleaning also reduces fire risks from built-up grease and oil,” Mr Khan added.
“If there are any concerns with your barbecue, turn off the gas immediately and arrange for the faulty component to be replaced or repaired by a licensed gas fitter.”
- Visit Building and Energy’s gas barbecue safety webpage (via dmirs.wa.gov.au) for more information and a handy video.
Mr Khan is encouraging people to ensure their interior and exterior festive lights are safe, in good working order and compliant with Australian standards.
“Damaged or incorrectly used lights can cause electric shocks and fires,” he said.
“Like all electrical equipment and appliances, Christmas lights must meet safety standards and require Australian certification. Look for authentic regulatory compliance symbols and be wary about purchasing lights from overseas as they may not comply.”
Key advice for Christmas lights
- Check the lights are undamaged, untangled and working well, particularly if they have been in storage.
- Ensure lights, extension leads and power boards are suitable for the intended use, including indoor or outdoor placement.
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and do not alter or modify the lights.
- Turn off power points or light switches before replacing bulbs.
- Switch off the Christmas lights before going to bed or leaving your house.
- Test your home’s residual current devices (RCDs) to make sure they are working.
Hazards in roof spaces
Mr Khan said people should exercise particular caution about electrical hazards in roof spaces.
“The holiday season is popular time for DIY projects and, if you must access the roof space, it is vital that the electricity main switch in the home’s main switchboard is turned off,” he said.
“The wiring up there may have damaged insulation or exposed live parts, posing a clear risk of electric shock and possible electrocution.”
Battery-powered headlamps or torches should be used to help with safe movement in the roof space and navigation around electrical infrastructure.
“People need to move with care in roof spaces to avoid stepping on electrical cables or inadvertently kicking plastic junction boxes that enclose cable terminations,” Mr Khan said.
West Australians are also reminded that DIY electrical work is illegal and a licensed electrical contractor must be engaged to carry out any new wiring work or alterations and maintenance of existing installations.
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