Safety alert issued after worker electrocuted in roof space

Thursday, 16 April, 2020 - 09:30
Policy & legislation
Western Australia

WorkSafe WA recently issued a safety alert following an incident in which an air-conditioning installer suffered a fatal electric shock while working in the roof space of a house.

In Western Australia, it is a legal requirement to de-energise and isolate all power before a worker enters a domestic roof space.

The person responsible for this is the employer, main contractor, self-employed person or person with control of the workplace.

The alert said possible contributing factors in incidents of this type include:

  • Power to the house not turned off while a worker is in the roof space.
  • Source of electrical hazard, for example:
    • deteriorated wiring
    • unused wiring that is connected to the switchboard
    • previous electrical work left in an unsafe state
    • non-compliant electrical components in use
    • solar power system wiring installed in a non-compliant way – note that if wired incorrectly, solar system wiring may be live even if the main switch is off 
    • metallised products, such as insulation foil in contact with an electrical conductor due to poor installation practice. 


To manage such hazards, the alert said to:

  1. Ensure power has been de-energised and isolated (turned off at the main switch) before anyone enters or works in a domestic roof space, whether or not they will be doing electrical work.
  2. Always use a licensed electrician to do electrical work.