There are serious electrical safety risks in ceiling spaces.
Whether you are a homeowner or a tradie, there is one simple thing you can do to make it safer before you go up into the ceiling space - turn off all the main power switches at the switchboard.
Stay safer up there, switch off down here.
Turn the power off
Even with the power off at the switchboard, there is still a risk of electric shock because the service lines coming in off the street are still live.
Our message is to "stay safer up there" and we recognise that turning off all the main power switches at the switchboard does not mitigate all risk, but it does reduce the risk.
When you're up in the ceiling space, even with the power off, avoid contact with electrical cables and equipment as some circuits may still be live.
Use torches and cordless tools so you don't need power when you're in the ceiling space. If you must have power, turn off all circuits except the one supplying the socket outlet you need to use, and make sure it is protected by a safety switch. Don't forget to test the safety switch before you go up into the ceiling space.
Some electrical equipment such as hot water systems or stoves may have a separate switch. The safest approach is to turn off all the switches and circuit breakers at the main switchboard.
Once you've turned the power off, tape the switches or label them so someone else doesn't turn them back on while you're working in the ceiling. Always let someone know you're going up into the ceiling space.
Other ceiling space hazards
- solar PV systems have DC supply cables that may be live during daylight hours
- damaged electrical cables or equipment that should be repaired by a licensed electrician
- insulation material that should be checked to ensure it is not covering any electrical fittings or equipment, especially down lights
- heat, working at height, dangerous vermin, sharp objects and asbestos containing materials.
Never do your own electrical work - it's illegal and can invalidate your home insurance. Installing or repairing electrical equipment or cables must only be done by a licensed electrician.