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Electricity can switch you off

Every 30 minutes, a worker is hurt so severely from electricity that they need time off for recovery1

. Recovery from electrical shocks and burns is slow and painful. Ensure you become aware of electrical hazards in your workplace to avoid accidents from happening. At the end of the day, your choices don't only affect you, they also affect your family, friends and colleagues.

The below is a real life incident where a worker in the Comcare scheme was almost switched off by electricity. If this was you, what could you have done to avoid being injured?

The cleaner and the cord

A cleaner was vacuuming the floors using a vacuum cleaner which was powered by an extension cord plugged into a power outlet. The extension cord became snagged under a cupboard and unplugged from the vacuum cleaner. Rather than turn the extension cord off at the power point to plug the vacuum back into the extension cord, the cleaner just plugged the cord back in. The cleaner received an electric shock in the process.

If this was you, what could you have done to avoid being injured?

  • Remember that electricity can turn you off - be aware of the electrical hazards around you that have the potential to cause you harm. Turn power points off before plugging in or removing any electrical items. If need be, plug the cord into a power point closer to where you are working.


Electricity can switch you offElectricity can switch you off poster – A3 [PDF,668KB]This poster should be printed out and placed around your workplace to increase awareness of the dangers involved in working with electricity.
Electricity can switch you offElectricity can switch you off checklist – A4 [PDF,140KB]This checklist should be used by employees to check whether there are any electrical hazards in their workplace. If there are, employees should be encouraged to rectify them.
Electricity can switch you offStay safe in the workplace video seriesWatch this series of videos to see how electricity effects the body, what to look for when inspecting equipment, the safe use of cables and cords and bringing private equipment into the workplace. Comcare would like to acknowledge the Royal Australian Navy Training Technology Support Unit for the use of their training videos.

1 Electrical Safety Foundation International website

Page last updated: 23 Dec 2015