Stay Safer Up There, Switch Off Down Here

Stay Safer Up There, Switch Off Down Here

Homeowners and tradespeople are urged to turn off all the main power switches at the switchboard before heading up into the ceiling space.

Ceiling Spaces BrochureThere are serious electrical safety risks in ceiling spaces. Whether you are a homeowner or a tradie, there is one simple thing youcan do to make it safer before you go up there – turn off all the main power switches at the switchboard.

Get your free brochure containing warning stickers and place them on your home’s ceiling space manhole and switchboard.
(This article was published with the assistance of NECA and the Queensland government)

Poor cabling and recessed luminaire installation practices that don’t comply with AS/NZS 3000 (the wiring rules) as well as insulation not installed in accordance with AS/NZS 3999 can create a nightmare scenario for members called in to do subsequent work in the ceiling space.

Hazards include:
Solar Array DC and Service AC Cabling
Cabling carrying significant DC voltage from solar arrays to inverters may travel through ceiling spaces in a way that does not comply with the wiring rules and other regulations requiring that they be clearly marked, appropriately fastened and protected by conduit to avoid contact.
Many of these existing arrays cannot be isolated at the source and DC cabling remains live to the switchboard during daylight hours.
Ceilings may also contain AC service lines travelling from the point of contact to the switchboard which remain live.

Lighting and Other Circuit Cabling
Unsecured and excessively lengthy cabling can cause trip, shock and heat hazards in ceilings which if ignored may result in fire or injury to a home owner or worker. Insulation which may have been chewed by rats or other rodents also presents a hazard if cables are live.

Foil Insulation
Foil insulation has been associated with a number of fatalities in ceilings particularly when metal fasteners have been used around supply circuits. Some of these may not become live until a switch below is turned on while a worker is in the ceiling. Queensland regulation now bans metal fasteners and requires the removal of foil insulation or the use of RCD’s on all final sub circuits to control these hazards.

What to do

Before embarking on any job in a ceiling space turn the power off to all circuits at the switchboard and conduct a risk assessment and develop a safe work method statement.

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