Electrical installation risks and safety

Poorly installed or maintained electrical installations pose a serious risk to people and property, and can lead to burns, smoke inhalation, electrical shocks or even death.

Electrical faults are a major cause of fires damaging homes and businesses. The heat generated by an electrical current can also melt and damage material close by.

Understanding the risks and maintaining a high standard of electrical installations is the most effective way to protect people.

Hazardous areas

A hazardous area is an area where the presence of a fuel mixed with air means a spark generated by electrical equipment or other sources can lead to an explosion or cause a fire.

Non-compliant electrical installations in hazardous areas, such as those related to petrol pumps, present a major risk of fire and explosions.

Anyone working on or near hazardous areas must have adequate training, be competent to perform the work, and hold an appropriate licence.

High voltage installations

A high voltage installation is an installation that operates at more than 1,000 volts AC or 1,500 volts DC.

Failure of high voltage installations can cause serious electrical incidents. The risk of fire and damage to property is greater as these installations can produce highly destructive electrical currents.

High voltage powerlines present a serious risk of injury, death and damage to property. Maintaining safe clearance distances when working near overhead powerlines is essential to worker safety.

Anyone working on or near high voltage installations must have adequate training, be competent to perform the work, and hold an appropriate licence.

Low voltage installations

Low voltage electrical installations are those operating between 50 and 1,000 volts AC or 120 and 1,500 volts DC.

Fatal electric shocks and injuries may result from:

  • electrical workers performing work on live parts of installations
  • electrical workers using incorrect work practices and testing methods, or faulty or unsuitable testing equipment
  • people attempting to perform electrical work on these installations without being adequately trained and competent to do so
  • not wearing suitable personal protective clothing while working on the installation
  • using electrical equipment not protected by a safety switch.

Anyone working on or near low voltage installations must have adequate training, be competent to perform the work, and hold an appropriate licence.

Extra-low voltage installations

The heat generated by extra low voltage downlights can ignite nearby combustible material and have caused fires and severe damage to homes in South Australia.

Changing or modifying T8 or T5 lighting

There are many electrical safety risks associated with T8 fluorescent tube replacements using LED tubes or T8 to T5 fluorescent lamp adaptor technologies.

If you are installing, manufacturing or supplying these products, it is essential that you understand the safety risks and comply with all relevant guidelines and standards – see AS/NZS 60598.2.1:2014 for more information.

Rescue and resuscitation

Anyone doing electrical work, or helping someone else do electrical work, must have suitable training in rescue and resuscitation, as required by the Electricity (General) Regulations 2012, Regulation 68.

To ensure electrical workers meet Work Health and Safety Regulations 2012 requirements – Regulation 161(1) and (4) – they must be assessed every 12 months and deemed competent to rescue and resuscitate another person. The applicable national training modules are 'HLTAID001 – Provide cardiopulmonary resuscitation' and 'UETTDRRF06B – Perform rescue from a live LV panel'.

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Page last updated 24 October 2017

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Department for Energy and Mining
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