Working at height around live electrical installations

The purpose of this Safety Alert is to highlight to workers the dangers of working at heights around live electrical installations.


An electrician was performing work from a ladder when he made contact with a nearby electric fence. The resulting electric shock caused the electrician to fall from the ladder. Fortunately the electrician’s fall was broken by a nearby worker and he received only minor injuries.

Contributing factors

  • There were no signs alerting the worker to the presence of an electric fence
  • The electrician failed to carry out a risk assessment before commencing work
  • The electrician was working at height from an aluminium ladder next to a live electrical installation and was well earthed
  • Fall prevention, arrest equipment or a more suitable work platform was not used.

Action required

  • Undertake a site induction before commencing any work at a new site to identify site hazards
  • Carry out a risk assessment to identify the risks and appropriate control measures to mitigate the risks
  • If possible, isolate any nearby live electrical installations
  • Use a non-conductive ladder (such as fiberglass) to eliminate a source of earthing.

Further information


Australian Standards

Codes of Practice

Information Bulletin


This Safety Alert contains safety information following inquires made by NT WorkSafe about an incident or unsafe practice. The information contained in this Alert does not necessarily include the outcome of NT WorkSafe’s action with respect to an incident. NT WorkSafe does not warrant the information in this Alert is complete or up-to-date and does not accept any liability for the information in this report or as to its use.