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Dangerous electrical shocks serve as a warning

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Following two recent events where electrical shocks were ignored leading to serious incidents, the Electrical Safety Office is issuing a warning to everyone.

All electric shocks are dangerous and should be reported. Head of ESO, Victoria Thomson, said no matter how mild the shock may seem, you should report it to your electricity entity or licensed electrical contractor immediately.

“The golden rule is - you won’t receive an electric shock from your equipment, appliances, products or property if everything is functioning correctly,” Ms Thomson said.

“So don’t ignore the warnings - electricity can kill and receiving an electric tingle from taps or other objects can indicate something is wrong with your electrical system or a problem is developing.

“In some instances, the shock could be from a fault on a neighbouring property or electrical installation.

“Having an electrician determine the cause is the only way to ensure you and your loved ones are electrically safe.”

This doesn’t just apply at home, but also in the workplace. You should report all shocks to your employer immediately.

“If you receive an electric shock, you should never touch the item again. Not even to check if it really was a shock,” Ms Thomson said.

“Always switch the power off where it’s safe to do so and stop others accessing the area until it is tested and confirmed safe.

“You need to be mindful of any metallic objects that may also be live until help arrives. This may include your switchboard enclosure, sink, water pipes or roof.”

If you receive a shock from your taps, then your switchboard enclosure is also likely to be live which will prevent you from turning the power off safely. You should call your electricity entity straight away. Never touch or attempt to rescue someone who is receiving an electric shock, you may end up receiving a shock yourself. Where safe to do so, switch the power off, stay clear and call 000.

“Regardless of how minor you might feel the shock was, it’s best to get medical attention.

“Receiving an electric shock can affect your body and you may be unaware of the damage until it is too late.

“Medical staff are familiar with these issues and will carry out tests before giving you the all clear,” Ms Thomson said.

To minimise the chances of getting an electric shock and ensure your property is electrically safe:

  • Ensure your property is protected by safety switches (however, safety switches are like other electronic devices in your house and don’t last forever - test them every three months).
  • Never DIY and only use a licensed electrical contractors for all electrical work, including “plug in” items.
  • Make sure there is no damage to power points or switches at your property.
  • Repair faulty electrical equipment straight away.
  • Turn the power off before entering ceiling spaces.
  • Purchase your electrical equipment from a reputable supplier, follow all manufactures instructions, and do regular maintenance checks.
  • Electrical appliances must not be used in wet areas or near pools.
  • Arrange a check of your solar power system every year.
  • Look up and live - be aware of overhead power lines, especially when using ladders.
  • Check for concealed cables before drilling into walls.
  • Take care when digging near underground wiring - dial before you dig.
  • See if an electrician has checked the condition of power poles on your property in the last five years.

For further electrical safety information, please visit


To organise a one-on-one interview with ESO Principal Advisor Clint Hodges about the dangers of electric shock and electrical safety generally contact OIR Media on 0478 332 200 or

Last updated
27 November 2017