Posted on June 28, 2016 in Recent News

Reducing your electric shock risk: safety for unterminated cables

Reducing electric shock risk - Electrical installations Port Moresby, PNG

There are many different causes of electric shock, but one particularly hazardous risk comes from unterminated live cables.

In the last year, there were over 300 electrical shocks reported to the Queensland Electrical Safety Office—and ten per cent of those reports related to unterminated cables becoming live. Anyone coming into contact with unterminated live cables is at significant risk of serious injury or death from electric shock.

But there are a few easy ways to manage this hazard:

Have a professional electrician perform a thorough verification test on the entire electrical system, in order to identify unterminated cables and joints, before the system is energised. This is also a legal and industry requirement under the Australian Standards AS/NZS 3000:2007 section 8 Verification.
Always assume unterminated cables are live, and make sure to have a professional isolate and test them before you touch them; and
Have a professional install safety switches on all the circuits in use, and consider installing safety switches on all other circuits present in the building.

If you are pre-wiring an electrical system yourself, you can reduce the risk of electric shock from an unterminated cable by:


Marking the location of all cables with a clear and simple identification system;


Covering the exposed ends of conductors with insulation tape or junction boxes; and


Ensuring the cable is easily identifiable during verification testing on the installation by twisting each cable’s conductors together.

As a business owner, you’re responsible for managing the risk of unterminated live cables. Your specific responsibilities are outlined in the following Australian Standards:

AS/NZS 3000:2007 Clause 1.5.3, which states that you must provide protection against electric shock from both direct and indirect contact with electrical parts (contact during normal live electrical service, as well as contact during fault conditions);
AS/NZS 3000:2007 Clause, which states that you must provide protection from any parts of your electrical system that are live during normal electrical service;
AS/NZS 3000:2007 Clause, which states that you must cover all live parts of your electrical system with permanently attached insulation that can withstand all types of influences that can occur during normal electrical service or faults (mechanical, chemical, electrical and thermal); and 
AS/NZS 3000:2007 Clause, which states that all the live parts of your electrical system should be housed in enclosures or barriers that provide protection.

Always remember that it’s dangerous to perform your own electrical work. If you’re unsure of how to manage or identify unterminated cables, you can also contact Port Moresby Electrical at any time: we will be happy to safeguard the safety of your work force with professional electrical inspections and maintenance.