Working in the roof space

The roof space of your home can be a very dangerous area. There are a number of electrical risks, including:

  • exposed live electrical conductors or wiring;
  • unenclosed joints in conductors;
  • electrical connections where the condition of wiring has deteriorated (often associated with older buildings);
  • unused wiring left in the roof space that has not been disconnected at the switchboard;
  • substandard and unsafe past electrical work performed by an incompetent person;
  • damaged cables (e.g. chewed by rodents); and
  • metallised foil insulation which may have been energised due to poor installation practices.

If you plan on working in the roof space, your first step is to switch off the electricity at the main switchboard (usually located in the meter box) by moving the main switch to the "OFF" position.

It is important to note that turning off electricity at the main switchboard does not turn off the electricity supply from the street to the switchboard. This means the incoming overhead or underground service lines and the cables supplying the switchboard will still be live. Extreme care must be taken to avoid touching any of these live overhead or underground electrical lines or supply cables.

If you are going to enter the roof space of your home:

  • switch off the electricity at the main switchboard;
  • let someone know where you are;
  • use a torch to light the work areas;
  • do not disturb or alter any electrical wiring or junction boxes;
  • keep thermal insulation away from light fittings; and
  • if you see any damaged or bare wires, call your licensed electrical contractor immediately.

WorkSafe Queensland has produced a video highlighting the danger of working in the roof space.

Stay safer up there, switch off down here.

'Stay safer up there, switch off down here' video

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