Electrical Hazards Checklist


Revision 1 March 2002
Revision 2 October 2005
Revision 3 February 2006 ( Previously Electrical Hazards for Builders & Building Trade Contractors)

1. Are construction switchboards properly constructed and set up?
Ensure electricity switchboards are of robust design and build, and are mounted securely. Where electricity meter and fuse assembly is fitted, make sure switchboard has an endorsed service fuse locking device. Construction switchboards should have:

  • an extension lead tie-bar to prevent strain on the plug top and socket outlet connection
  • insulated cable stands for the support of cables and extension leads off the ground
  • a lockable door that cannot damage power leads when closed
  • a way of keeping the door open for electrical installation work
  • weatherproofing if located outdoors or anywhere subject to water exposure
  • a clear area of 1 m at the front of the board
  • a lockable cover over circuit breakers and RCDs (safety switches)
  • clear access to main switch/isolating switch at all times when in use

2. Are there enough switchboards for the job?
Switchboards should be spaced according to the maximum allowable lengths of the extension leads being used. The maximum lengths of the most common types of flexible leads are listed below (generally the shortest length of lead should be used when setting up switchboards):

  • 25 metres for 10 Amp extension lead with 1.0 mm² flexible cables cores
  • 35 metres for 10 Amp extension lead with 1.5 mm² flexible cables cores
  • 5 metres for 15 Amp extension lead with 1.5 mm² flexible cables cores
  • 40 metres for 15 Amp extension lead with 2.5 mm² flexible cables cores

3. Are RCDs (safety Switches) fitted?
All final sub-circuits of construction wiring, including the associated socket outlets and light fittings, need to be protected by 30 mA RCDs. Where work is occurring using the existing premises power all extension leads, power tools, electrical plant and equipment must not be used unless protected by 30 mA RCDs. All RCDs should be time/current tested monthly.

4. Are the correct type socket outlets being used?
Check that only 240 volt socket outlets with double pole switches are used on relocatable structures and portable equipment.

5. Are portable outlet devices suitable?
Double adapters and other types of domestic multi-plug power boards are not suitable for use on construction sites. Only use multi-plug portable devices that comply with AS 3105 and are the industrial type fitted with over current and RCD protection.

6. Is construction cabling identified and protected from mechanical damage?
Make sure construction cabling is clearly identified and has protection where there is a risk of mechanical damage. If a change onsite occurs that introduces or increases the risk of damage, provide additional protection. Also ensure that there is no unauthorised work on portable buildings, such as drilling, nailing, screwing and fixing of attachments.

7. Are electric tools and flexible leads in a safe condition?
Ensure that electric power leads and tools brought onsite are suitable and in good condition:

  • use only heavy duty type extension leads and Australian approved power tools
  • have leads and tools inspected, tested and tagged by a suitable qualified person at intervals of three months, keep a register of inspections
  • always visually inspect leads and tools for signs of damage before use
  • make sure unserviceable tools or leads are immediately withdrawn from service

8. Have Certificates of Electrical Safety been issued?
Ensure the electrical contractor provides you with Certificates of Electrical Safety for all construction wiring including switchboards, each certificate should detail what work the certificate covers.

9. Has the electrical installation been tested?
The electrical installation including all construction wiring and switchboards need to be inspected and tested by a licensed electrician or electrical inspector before use and re-rested every 6 months for the duration of the project.

10. Have RCDs been tested?
Ensure that all fixed and portable RCDs are tested for tripping current and time by a licensed electrician every calendar month while used on site. The tripping function of portable RCDs should be checked before use by operating the RCD's test button.

11. Are portable generators suitable?
If portable generators are used on site, ensure the generator:

  • is fully serviceable and has been properly maintained where supplying a fixed installation,
  • is installed by a licensed electrician, and
  • inspected by a licensed electrical inspector before use, and
  • a Certificate of Electrical Safety is provided

Where supplying portable tools and equipment,

  • is fitted with a 30 mA RCD, and
  • provided, if necessary, with earth electrode and bonding connections according to the manufacturer/supplier information displayed on the generator.

12. Are extension leads being used safely?
Check that leads are not lying in mud or water or in areas where they can be damaged or become tripping hazards. Use stable, insulated lead stands to keep them above head-height. Do not allow leads to be wrapped around scaffolds or falsework - use S-shaped off-cuts of steel reinforcing bar sheathed in cut-off lengths of garden hose instead.

13. Are plant and temporary structures a safe distance from powerlines?
Make sure there is always a safe distance between live powerlines and cranes, concrete booms, earth moving equipment, elevating work platforms, hoists, scaffolds, falsework and portable ladders by strictly observing "no go zone" safe clearances.

14. Is electrical installation and repair work being done safely?
Make sure that all electrical installation work and any repairs to the electrical installation are only undertaken by licensed electricians working for Registered Electrical Contractors.


Further information


The Victorian requirements for electrical installation on construction sites a can be found in the Foundations for Safety Victoria Industry Standard for Electrical Installations on Construction Sites. This document is jointly published by the Energy Safe Victoria (formerly OCEI) and WorkSafe Victoria.

Copies can be ordered by telephoning:
WorkSafe Victoria on 1800 136 089
Energy Safe Victoria on (03) 9203 9700

Hard copies are available from:
Energy Safe Victoria - Level 3, 4 Riverside Quay, Southbank and local ESV offices
WorkSafe Victoria, 222 Exhibition St. Melbourne and local WorkSafe offices
The industry standard can be viewed and downloaded from:

  • WorkSafe Victoria's website http://www.workcover.vic.gov.au
  • Energy Safe Victoria's website http://www.esv.vic.gov.au/

Frequently-asked-questions on the industry standard can be viewed from:

  • WorkSafe's Construction & Utilities webpage at www.workcover.vic.gov.au/construction

Details on "no-go-zones" around overhead electrical powerlines and underground assets can be found in the safety basics section of WorkSafe website www.workcover.vic.gov.au.

WorkSafe Victoria Alerts can be viewed and downloaded from WorkSafe Victoria's website.

Energy Safe Victoria publishes a Code of Practice for Safe Electrical Work which deals with work on low voltage live electrical equipment. Information on the requirements for electricians and other electrical workers to be licensed and for electrical contractors to be registered can be found on the Energy Safe Victoria's website.

For more information on electrical hazards, call:
Energy Safe Victoria on (03) 9203 9700, or WorkSafe Advisory Service on 1800 136 089

Technical information is available from Standards Australia on 1300 654 646, or on-line: www.standards.com.au, including:

  • AS/NZS 3000:2000 Wiring Rules
  • AS/NZS 3012 Electrical Installations - Construction and demolition sites
  • AS/NZS 3017 Electrical Installations - Testing and inspection guidelines
  • AS/NZS 3760 In-service safety inspection and testing of electrical equipment
  • AS/NZS 3105 Approval and test specifications - Electrical portable outlet devices

Note: This guidance material has been prepared using the best information available to WorkSafe Victoria. Any information about legislative obligations or responsibilities included in this material is only applicable to the circumstances described in the material. You should always check the legislation referred to in this material and make your own judgement about what action you may need to take to ensure you have complied with the law. Accordingly, the Victorian WorkCover Authority extends no warranties as to the suitability of the information for your specific circumstances.