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Electrical – Passive infrared (PIR) sensor

Last September, an electrician received an electric shock while installing a passive infrared sensor (PIR) sensor of the type and construction identified below.

Example: external construction (left) and internal view (centre, right) highlighting areas of exposed live parts.

This type of unit is most commonly installed in commercial or industrial premises.

To test the sensor and adjust the settings, a common practice for electricians is to remove the cover normally secured by a retaining screw, and use their finger to cover the PIR sensor head to simulate darkness.

Energy Safe Victoria (ESV) has identified that there is a significant risk of electric shock from these PIR sensors during installation, service or maintenance work.

When the cover of these PIR sensors is removed, the user is exposed to live parts including the main’s terminals and PIR sensor head (240V~). These parts are highlighted in red across the images above.

Touching the PIR sensor head could result in severe injury or death.

Maintenance and adjustments to settings must be carried out with the power isolated, and by licensed electricians only.

What to do when working on PIR sensors?

PIR sensor heads must never be touched. If you come across sensors of this design or construction, a Warning label should be placed on the unit.

ESV has produced Warning labels (shown below) which may be attached to existing PIR sensors. This label is to be used with the identified PIR sensors only.

The label must be affixed on the side of the PIR sensor closest to the screw entry.

PIR sensor warning labels – order form

To place an order for PIR sensor Warning labels, fill out the details below.

View as PDF.