Working with energised electrical lines

The purpose of this Safety Alert is to highlight the danger of electric shocks and electrocution when working with energised electrical lines.


An electrician was recently killed in Darwin’s rural area repairing damage to electrical infrastructure after a storm. The electrician was working with an energised electrical line when he came into contact with a portion of the line where the insulation had been damaged.

Contributing factors

  • Workplace circumstances changed, when a branch cut from a tree came into contact with an electrical line causing it to pull away from the pole
  • With the equipment available, it was not possible to conduct a thorough inspection of the electrical line to check for damage
  • The electrical line was energised whilst work was being performed
  • There was no evidence of appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) being used.

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

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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.