Roof space hazards: switch off before you go up
- Always turn off the mains power before entering a roof space
- This is compulsory for all tradespeople including electricians
- Building and Energy is distributing safety stickers for manholes and switchboards
Recent tragic deaths and close calls have prompted a plea from Western Australia’s electrical safety regulator to always switch off the mains power before entering a roof space.
Building and Energy’s warning to residents and tradespeople follows five fatal electric shocks since 2011 in roof spaces in Perth and the South West, as well as several serious injuries from electrical hazards.
Building and Energy is now distributing free safety stickers to be placed on manholes and switchboards as a reminder to turn off the main switch at the property’s switchboard or meter box before entering the roof space.
“Hazards in roof spaces may not be immediately obvious in tight spaces with poor visibility,” WA’s Director of Energy Safety, Saj Abdoolakhan, said.
“There could be exposed live electrical conductors or wiring, damaged or deteriorated cables, non-compliant past electrical work and many other dangers. For everyone’s safety, always turn off the power before anyone enters the roof space.”
It is mandatory for the mains power to be off before any worker enters the roof space of a residential property, commercial premises repurposed from a residential property, apartment building or related buildings such as a shed, carport or private garage. The law applies to electricians and all other trades including air-conditioning, solar and security installers, gas fitters, plumbers, insulators, carpenters and pest controllers.
“Home owners should also switch the power off if they are entering the roof space themselves – it’s a simple step that could prevent a tragedy,” Mr Abdoolakhan said.
“The new safety stickers for ceiling access points and switchboards will remind everyone of this important step.”
The free stickers can be requested by emailing EGPGeneralAdmin@dmirs.wa.gov.au. The stickers can also be found in the next round of Synergy hard-copy bills.
Other roof space safety tips from Building and Energy include:
- After turning off the mains power, tape or label the switch – or use a lock-out kit – so it is not turned back on while you are in the roof space.
- Let someone know where you are.
- Use a torch and cordless power tools.
- Do not disturb or alter any electrical wiring or junction boxes.
- Keep thermal insulation away from light fittings.
- If you see any damaged or bare wires, call a licensed electrical contractor immediately. Never attempt DIY electrical work.
More information is available at the Building and Energy website (dmirs.wa.gov.au): https://www.commerce.wa.gov.au/building-and-energy/working-roof-space
Media contact: BEmedia@dmirs.wa.gov.au