Working near energised high voltage cables

The purpose of this Safety Alert is to highlight the dangers of electrical explosions and fire which may result from the mishandling of energized high voltage cables.


Two Power and Water Corporation electrical workers were severely burnt following a high voltage explosion in a cable pit which occurred after one of the workers accidentally cut the wrong cable.

Contributing factors

  • The high voltage cables inside the cable pit were not adequately labelled to identify the live cables, neither were the live cables effectively protected to prevent accidental interference by the workers who were limited by the narrow confines of the pit.

Action required

  • All employers and workers, including self-employed people, must ensure that all workplace hazards are identified and appropriate risk management measures are put in place to reduce the risks associated with the hazard
  • When circumstances change during a job, time is taken to reassess and identify all workplace hazards and appropriate risk management measures are put in place
  • Electrical installations are de-energised prior to the commencement of any work
  • Electrical installations are tested to confirm they are de-energised before they are touched
  • All workers are to ensure that the appropriate PPE is worn. Any tools or equipment being used must be appropriate for the task and the conditions.

Further information

Australian Standards

Guidance material

  • Access to Apparatus Rules

    The Access to Apparatus Rules set out the principles and responsibilities for safe access to apparatus, confined spaces and hot work high risk areas owned, controlled or operated by Power and Water Corporation. These rules have replaced the Power Water Corporation Green Book.


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.