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Electric Shock Risk from Fluorescent Light Fittings

Electrical Safety Office

December 2020

When installing light fittings, it is important to the minimise risk of electric shock

The Electrical Safety Office recently investigated an incident in a bottle shop cold room where a worker received an electric shock when his elbow hit a fluorescent lamp starter in a light fitting.

When installing light fittings, it is important to consider the following to minimise risk of electric shock:
• Ensure the light fitting is appropriate for the location (for example, does it need weatherproof protection for condensation, moisture or dust, or special design for cold or hot conditions, or does it need mechanical protection/guarding of the tube and starter?).
• Isolate and lock out power to the fitting before performing repair or maintenance.
• Assume a light fitting is live and test it before touching.
• Ensure preventative maintenance is conducted on electrical equipment (including checking the appropriate covers or diffusers are in place over light fittings).
• When changing fluorescent lamp tubes, if the fitting has an associated lamp starter, always replace the starter.
• If you are retrofitting LED tube lamps to existing light fittings, ensure the fitting and the lamp comply with electrical safety standards (AS/NZS 60598.2.1).
• If changing to LED light fittings (for example changing to LED lights designed to replace fluorescent light fittings such as the ‘vandalite' style fittings), ensure they are types that do not expose live parts if the diffuses/covers over the LED lights are removed, even if a tool is required to remove the cover.

Business owners have a duty of care to:
• Ensure workers are aware of the hazards when working near electrical equipment.
• Conduct regular checks on electrical equipment to identify missing or broken parts and have a licensed electrical worker replace them.
• Have safety switches installed on all circuits where possible (especially on all power and light circuits) and test them regularly.

Source: October 2020

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