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Electric shock risk - unterminated live cables

Unterminated live cables

Of the more than 300 electrical shocks reported to the Electrical Safety Office in Queensland over the past 12 months, around ten per cent relate to unterminated cables.

A live unterminated cable is an electrical safety risk to anyone who comes into contact with it. To manage this safety risk you should:

  • ensure that a thorough verification test has been performed on the whole electrical installation. This will identify unterminated cables and joints before the installation is energised. It is also required by law and Australian Standards (See AS/NZS 3000:2007 section 8 Verification)
  • always treat unterminated cables as potentially live and isolate and test them before you touch
  • ensure that safety switches are installed on all required circuits and consider installing safety switches on other circuits.

When pre-wiring an electrical installation you can avoid the risk of electric shock from an unterminated cable by:

  • using a reliable marking system to correctly identify the location of cables
  • using insulation tape or junction boxes to enclose the exposed ends of conductors
  • twisting the conductors of each cable together. This will ensure the cable is identified during verification testing on the electrical installation

More information

For more information refer to these Australian Standards:

  • AS/NZS 3000:2007 Clause - Protection shall be provided against shock current arising from contact with parts that are live in normal service (direct contact) or parts that become live under fault conditions (indirect contact).
  • AS/NZS 3000:2007 Clause - Protection shall be provided against dangers that may arise from contact with parts of the electrical installation that are live in normal service.
  • AS/NZS 3000:2007 Clause - Live parts shall be completely covered with insulation capable of withstanding the mechanical, chemical, electrical and thermal influences to which they may be subject to in service and that can only be removed by destruction.
  • AS/NZS 3000:2007 Clause – Live parts shall be inside enclosures or behind barriers that provide a degree of protection (of at least - as listed in this standard).
Last updated
24 May 2016

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