Stay safe during DIYs, Energy Minister Anthony Lynham urges

SAFETY: DIYers should be aware of overhead powerlines when carrying objects like ladders, Mr Lynham said. Photo: Jacob Wilson
SAFETY: DIYers should be aware of overhead powerlines when carrying objects like ladders, Mr Lynham said. Photo: Jacob Wilson

ENERGY experts are urging DIYers to take proper precautions to ensure electrical safety while undertaking indoor and outdoor projects over the long weekend.

With many people expected to break out their toolboxes and ladders this weekend, Energy Minister Anthony Lynham said DIYers should keep safety in mind.

More than 70 per cent of the deaths from electric shocks between 2014 and 2016 occurred in households.

"A few simple rule will help make sure you finish the job, rather than ending up in an accident and emergency department or worse over the holidays," Mr Lynham said.

"Of all the hazards associated with home renovations, electricity is not only the best concealed, but also the most dangerous."

He said people should become familiar with their property's electrical network before establishing garden beds or digging holes for fence posts.

In yards with underground power, cables will generally run in a direct line from the green pillar box on the footpath to the meter box, but if there is any doubt on the location of the underground cable a licensed electrician will be able to find the exact position.

If digging outside the fence line, Mr Lynham recommended DIYers call Dial Before You Dig on 1100 or submit an online enquiry so staff could inform them of underground cable layouts.

He said people should also be aware of overhead wires.

"If you are cleaning a roof, trimming a tree or carrying large objects such as ladders, get someone else to spot for you (to ensure) you maintain a safe distance away from powerlines," he said.

"There are very few second chances when coming into contact with any mains electricity."

Lawrie Zarb from Energex and Ergon said the biggest risks came from people attempting to do their own electrical work.

"Putting it simply, electricity is a killer and unqualified people who attempt electrical work around the home are not only taking theirs and other's lives in their hands, they are breaking the law," he said.

"Any electrical work at all, no matter how small, should only ever be undertaken by a licensed electrician."

Stay safe while completing DIY works

  • When painting around light fittings, don't remove the light plate. This exposes live wires even when the light is switched off.
  • When tiling around light fittings, switches or power points, get a licensed electrician to remove the light plates and deactivate any exposed wires before you begin.
  • Check for wires before drilling into walls, floors and ceilings, especially around power points and light switches. When a metal drill comes into contact with concealed wiring it can spell disaster, so always make sure you know where wires run first.
  • Call Dial Before You Dig on 1100 if digging outside your fence line or if you are unsure where underground cables are. The Dial Before You Dig customer support centre will be closed on Good Friday, Easter Monday and Anzac Day but enquiries can be lodged online.
  • Use a spotter when carrying large items to avoid contact with overhead powerlines.