News & Views

7th January 2019

DIY electrical work is illegal and extremely dangerous

 
For fans of Nine’s The Block TV show, there was a glorious finale on October 28. But the DIY renovation show threw up challenges for energy safety.
 
Back in September, a contestant was seen on the show installing an electrical cable. This was very disappointing to see from a long running show and production company that should know better.
 
Compounding the issue, the show made a joke of the situation, egging the contestant on that she could carry out ‘do-it-yourself’ electrical work. The contestant was even encouraged to film herself doing this work under the mistaken impression she could start her own YouTube channel, showing everyone else out in DIY land that this was easy to do.
 
Worse still, a registered electrical contractor was in the background the whole time encouraging the contestant. That contractor has since contacted ESV to say that it was his understanding that the segment would never be broadcast.
 
The segment was rounded out with a fake phone call where members of the cast claimed Energy Safe Victoria had called and were going to investigate, possibly requiring all the cabling to be taken out. After a few awkward shots of the contestant looking sheepish, we are told it was a prank call and everyone had a good laugh. For the record, Energy Safe Victoria were not aware of the segment until it was broadcast.
 
When asked to explain, The Block production company were contrite. An executive producer and the foreman came into ESV to apologise and offered to promote ESV safety messages around the dangers of DIY electrical work. For whatever reason the head of electrical safety for the show was not present when the segment was filmed. ESV’s investigation into the matter is ongoing.
 
While The Block would argue that they did tell their audience that electrical work must always be carried out by a qualified electrician, the fact that they broadcast to hundreds of thousands of viewers someone with no electrical background or qualification running cables is extremely disappointing. It trivialises what is an incredibly dangerous task. Too many times ESV has been called to incidents that have resulted in fatalities from
unlicensed people doing their own electrical work. Only recently a man was killed attempting to install a power point when he inadvertently touched a live electrical cable.
 
All electricians have to be vigilant about this. Never knowingly allow people to do unlicensed DIY. If you hear about it happening, remind these people that that sort of work is not only illegal it is also extremely dangerous.
It’s is not only suburban DIY work either. The warning against DIY electrical work is also important for farmers and farm workers, particularly after a number of fatalities in recent years.

 
For more information go to www.esv.vic.gov.au 
 
*This article is from NECA news December Edition 2018. Click here to visit NECA News webpage.