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98Contact With Live 415 Volt Conductors

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Brief Description of Incident/Accident & Description of Consequences/Outcomes:


During plant maintenance a contractor supervising electrician picked up a five-wire (3 phases, earth and neutral) double insulated cable lying loose in a wet oily cable tray. When wiping the cable with his bare hand, the loose tape around the exposed conductors at the cable end came off and he received a shock. The 415 Volt conductors shorted out and the power tripped off on short circuit.

Identified Root Causes:


While the plant was operating, the following protection was not in service or was inadequate.

· No general 415 Volt earth leakage (mains supply).

· No cable identification.

· Redundant cable and apparatus were not safely isolated.

· Inadequate protection – where the schematic diagram indicated a 10A circuit breaker, the actual circuit breaker was 32A.

· Inadequate available drawings – where drawings indicated two motors in parallel, there were actually four.

· Inadequate management of contract personnel – the electrical contractor was not aware of the site Electrical Management Handbook.

Energy Type(s) Involved:

Direct contact with live electrical conductors

Equipment Type(s):

Electrical Cable

Root & Contributing Cause(s):

LTA awareness

LTA hazard identification

LTA isolation

LTA work method

Stated or Potential Consequence(s):

Potential Fatality

Preventative/Recommended/Accepted Steps of Risk Mitigation, Points of Interest:


· Mines should review their electrical systems and contractor control in line with “Guidelines for Safe Mining”, the Mines Inspection Act and the General Rule.

· The review should immediately ensure that all earth leakage systems are in service and operational, and that all redundant cables and apparatus are safe.


New South Wales Department of Primary Industries, Minerals and Petroleum


Here are the results.


Reference Type:

Mine Safety Report #SA99-08

Mine Type:

Any Mine Type






Australia, New South Wales

ICAM Categories

Organisational Factors

• LTA contract management

Task or Environmental Conditions


Individual or Team Actions

• LTA hazard identification

• LTA isolation

• LTA work method

Failed or Absent Defences


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