By Patrick Avenell

Consumers and retailers are being urged to only use and recommend licensed and fully trained electricians and tradespeople following the death of a 24-year-old man who was electrocuted while installing an air conditioner.

Jody McGann, the New South Wales state manager of Master Electricians Australia said the tragic death of this young man in Miranda, in Sydney, highlighted the importance of only using licensed contractors or members of the industry association.

“These recent incidents should serve as a wake-up call to everyone that electrical safety should not be taken for granted. The difference between life and death or serious injury is the flick of a switch,” McGann said.

“You should never work live if it can be avoided. A serious accident can be easily avoided by turning the mains power off before you carry out any electrical work.

“Performing electrical work on live equipment should only be done as the last resort. Simply saving time or money is not a good enough reason to seriously put your life in danger.”

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Retailers selling air conditioning units this summer are strongly advised to recommend professional installation to their customers.

“Messing around with electrics is tricky business and it’s not worth putting your own life, and those of your loved ones at risk,” McGann said.

“Our research shows around 15 people are killed and 300 hospitalised every year as a result of injuries from electric shocks at home – accidents that could be easily prevented by taking the necessary precautions of turning off your main power and by having a safety switch installed.

“Sadly, more than 20 years after safety switches became compulsory on power circuits in new homes, many houses still do not have them fitted, and very few have them on every circuit.”