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Code of practice Managing electrical risks in the workplace

SafeWork NSW

Version:  2014.  (Current)
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Publication date
July 2014
Current status

This Code of Practice on how to manage electrical risks in workplaces is an approved code of practice under section 274 of the Work Health and Safety Act (the WHS Act).

An approved code of practice provides practical guidance on how to achieve the standards of work health and safety required under the WHS Act and the Work Health and Safety Regulation (the WHS Regulation) and effective ways to identify and manage risks.

A code of practice can assist anyone who has a duty of care in the circumstances described in the code of practice. Following an approved code of practice will assist the duty holder to achieve compliance with the health and safety duties in the WHS Act and WHS Regulation, in relation to the subject matter of the code of practice. Like regulations, codes of practice deal with particular issues and may not cover all relevant hazards or risks. The health and safety duties require duty holders to consider all risks associated with work, not only those for which regulations and codes of practice exist.

Codes of practice are admissible in court proceedings under the WHS Act and WHS Regulation. Courts may regard a code of practice as evidence of what is known about a hazard, risk, risk assessment or risk control and may rely on the code in determining what is reasonably practicable in the circumstances to which the code of practice relates. For further information see the Interpretive Guideline: The meaning of ‘reasonably practicable’.

Compliance with the WHS Act and WHS Regulation may be achieved by following another method if it provides an equivalent or higher standard of work health and safety than the code.

An inspector may refer to an approved code of practice when issuing an improvement or prohibition notice.


Scope and application:

This Code is intended to be read by a person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU). It provides practical guidance to PCBUs on managing electrical risks in the workplace.

It applies to all workplaces where a PCBU:

- has management or control of electrical equipment, including electrical installations, or
- carries out electrical work on or near energised electrical equipment, including electrical installations.

This Code may be a useful reference for other persons interested in the duties under the WHS Act and WHS Regulation.

This Code applies to construction and demolition sites, except if a requirement of the Code is dealt with in AS/NZS 3012:2010: Electrical installations – Construction and demolition sites. In that case you must comply with AS/NZS 3012:2010. Further information about construction work can be found in the Code of Practice: Construction work.

This Code does not apply to:

- electrical work on extra-low voltage electrical equipment, including extra-low voltage electrical installations
- electrical work on high voltage equipment after switching, isolation, short circuiting and earthing, subject to summary guidance in Chapter 9 of this Code
- the manufacture of electrical equipment
- automotive electrical work


1: Introduction
2: The Risk Management Process
3: Specific Hazards And Control Measures
4: Working De-energised
5: Isolation, Locking Off And Access
6: Energised Electrical Work
7: Working Near Energised Electrical Parts
8: Tools And Equipment
9: High Voltage Electrical Work
Appendix A: Glossary
Appendix B: Advantages And Disadvantages Of Non-Portable And Portable RCDs
Appendix C: Risks Associated With Electrical Work
Appendix D: Preventative Actions Checklist

NSW Government
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Australia License
Code of practice Managing electrical risks in the workplace 2014 cover