Electrical safety onboard commercial vessels and in the workplace represents a major problem in many areas! Here’s one reason why…

Recently an electrician was fault-finding on his own in a control panel and attempted to remove a plastic cover to access control relays, he was wearing Class 0 rubber gloves which are insulating gloves for electrical protection.

The cover fell to the floor of the panel and he reached down to retrieve the cover. His glove caught on the sharp edges of exposed terminal lugs of the control transformer which punctured the rubber glove.

He received an electric shock through his wrist when the current arced between two exposed cable terminals through the puncture holes in the gloves.

He was able to remove himself from the panel and another worker drove him to a regional hospital where he has undergone multiple surgeries.

A report on the incident said there were a number of contributing factors:

  • the electrician was working near energised electrical equipment;
  • the electrician did not isolate or test before working on the equipment;
  • there was no protective shroud over the control transformer terminals;
  • the rubber insulating glove was punctured when pushed past sharp edges of the terminals;
  • inadequate personal protective equipment (PPE) was being used.

Shorlink’s Recommendation

Our key recommendations are:

  • ensure all electrical installations comply with relevant standards
  • ensure all persons working on electrical equipment or installations are aware of and comply with emergency procedures
  • ensure personnel qualified in first aid are available when working on electrical equipment or installations;
  • determine whether there is a requirement to work or fault find on or near the installation or equipment while energised.

If workers are required to work on or near energised electrical equipment, duty holders are to:

  • undertake a written risk assessment performed by a competent person
  • prepare a written safe work method statement
  • select and use suitable safety equipment and PPE


Ensure a competent safety observer is present when work is carried out on or near an energised electrical installation unless the risk assessment has determined no observer is required for the proposed work.

Remember water and electricity DO NOT mix!