As a cabler, is a JSA enough?

By: Ian Millner, BICSI member and former director of Milcom.

A Job Safety Analysis (JSA) is designed to identify any hazards related to the safety of yourself, those working with you and others who may have access to the worksite. In addition to the identification of hazards because of Workplace Health and Safety (WHS) requirements, the recently revised AS/CA S009 requires cablers to maintain separation from both electrical and non-electrical hazards and other services, these being:

  • LV and HV cables and terminations;
  • Non -communications services such as plumbing;
  • ELV power cables;
  • Gas pipes;
  • Oil pipes;
  • Steam pipes;
  • Pipes containing compressed air; and
  • Hot water pipes (greater than 600C).

In addition to this, you are required to identify hazardous areas. These areas could be located in but not limited to the following environments:

  • Vehicle workshop, vehicle parking areas and residential garages;
  • Fuel-dispensing stations;
  • Aircraft hangars;
  • Flammable liquid/gas production/processing/handling/storage areas;
  • Refineries and major processing plants;
  • Laboratories, fume-cupboards and flammable medical agents;
  • Landfill gas, sewage treatment, sewage pumping stations;
  • Paint/adhesive manufacturing and storage areas;
  • Paint spraying, drying and finishing areas;
  • Fruit drying rooms;
  • Dry cleaning, chemicals/plastics/solvents recycling and distillation plants; and
  • Grain handling/storage/milling areas.

Any cabling in these areas must comply with additional requirements as detailed in S009, or any other standards that are specified under S009.
As you are not always the person in control of the premises where the worksite is located, it is crucial that you identify any, or all, of these prior to commencement of work.
As the onus is on you to ensure compliance with the above, it is recommended that you capture this as part of the activities conducted in preparation to undertake any work.
A good way to do this is to use a check list where you request from the person in control of the premises as to any special requirements with regards to undertaking telecommunications cabling work on the site. You might also request any as-built drawings that they have available, including electrical, hydraulic and other services.

Based on the information provided to you by the controller of the premises, you can then implement the adequate safe work method statements (SWMS) to deal with the identification of any hazards that may be present in your workplace in that premises.