Master Electricians Backs Call For National Safety Switch Campaign

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1 September 2014

Master Electricians Australia (MEA) today welcomed the recommendations of the home insulation Royal Commission calling for a national campaign to promote electrical safety switches.

MEA Chief Executive Officer Malcolm Richards said Commissioner Ian Hangar had identified an issue that had the potential to save hundreds of lives in Australia in coming years, and he called on State and Federal Governments to stop sitting on their hands in relation to the issue.

“Master Electricians Australia has been calling for a nation-wide rollout of safety switches since the three tragic electrocutions occurred under the Home Insulation Program,” Mr Richards said.

“We stand ready to be heavily involved in a national promotional campaign, as soon as Governments at all levels find the political will to take action that will indisputably save lives.

“A safety switch can shut off the power from an electric shock in just a few thousands of a second – faster than the critical phase of a heartbeat.  Around 15 Australians are killed and 300 hospitalised every year as a result of electrical accidents that could have been prevented with a safety switch.

“The Queensland Coroner has recognised the benefit of installing safety switches on all circuits of a home in order to stop preventable deaths.  This message has been echoed by the Royal Commissioner.

“Mr Hangar has outlined a clear path for making that happen – including a national promotional campaign and a compliance program which would be enforced when houses are sold – as is the case with swimming pool fences in some states.

“All that’s missing now is the political will to make it happen. We understand politicians are reluctant to do anything that will impact on families’ hip pockets.  However, this is about saving lives.

“Three of the HIP deaths could have been prevented with safety switches on the circuits.  I urge politicians from all parties and all levels of government to grab these recommendations and implement them very strongly, so we don’t have any more preventable deaths.”