Electrical Incidents and Prosecutions (Apr-May 2024)

The following electrical incidents and prosecutions are but a sample of those occurring across Australia and beyond that we have been made aware of since our last newsletter.

Employers and workers are encouraged to ensure all legal requirements and controls are in place when carrying out work to prevent heartache, loss of production, fines, imprisonment, etc.

Electrical Incidents and Near Misses
NSW – cold saw operator received an electric shock between arms. The coolant tub had been modified, not sealed properly, the termination block was broken and the motor frame was not earthed at the motor and the earth wire had been taped up.
NSW – old production line area had been repurposed as a warehouse with forklifts driving over cable trenches not designed for the forklift weight. A steel lid was deformed and fell onto cables.
NSW – fish scaling tool was left on the ground and a power lead on a vacuum cleaner was accidentally laid on top, puncturing the power lead. The circuit breaker did trip off the supply.
NSW – a switchroom fire alarm was activated when wiring broke loose contacting rheostats in a convertor panel. The installation was inappropriate as the heat from the rheostats was not considered in the design of the equipment.
NSW U/G Mine – conveyor tripped and couldn’t be reset. An electrician opened the cubicle doors as burning could be smelt. The electrician found the busbar plug had melted. It would be important to isolate upstream before opening the doors.
QLD – Bill Martin tells his son’s story that took place 25 years ago. His son, Tim, was 17 years old when the EWP he was working in, entered the exclusion zone of a powerline. Tim received terrible burns and will never make 18 years old.
SA – incidents as per the Feb 2024 Roundup issue. Also includes a third year electrical apprentice on a roof who removed a sheet of iron and received a shock from exposed ‘live’ parts and fell to the ground: https://www.energymining.sa.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0004/989455/Regulation-Roundup-Issue-53-February-2024.pdf

Prosecutions and Inquests
QLD – $150k fine for a company that failed to adhere to legislation where an air conditioner electrician, whose electrical licence had expired, was electrocuted when installing an air conditioner.
QLD – electrical worker fined $2k for a reverse polarity submain that resulted in a person receiving an electric shock . the contractor was fined $3k and the contractor’s licence was suspended for 6 months.
QLD – a 3rd year apprentice received an electric shock when contact was made with an energized light fitting. The electrician was fined $800 and the contractor $6,600.
QLD – an electrical worker was shocked when contact was made with energized parts and the installation earth bar whilst installing a large commercial PV system. The electrician was fined $1,500. The contractor was fined $6k and their licence was suspended for 6 months.
QLD – an electrical apprentice received a shock from an energized service line active to the metal raiser bracket for the service. The electrical worker’s licence was suspended for 3 months and he/she was fined $1,000. The contractor was fined $5,600 and lost their contractor’s licence for 6 months.
QLD – March/April disciplinary actions – https://www.worksafe.qld.gov.au/news-and-events/newsletters/esafe-newsletters/esafe-editions/esafe-electrical/2024-newsletters/april-2024/electrical-licensing-disciplinary-action
USA Mine – 56-year-old electric shop assistant died at the end of 2023 when an-all terrain telehandler tipped over and stuck him. The telehandler was being used to pull an electrical cable. The incident occurred when repositioning the telehandler.
USA Mine – Feb 2023: 61-year-old haul truck driver was electrocuted when he raised the truck tray into a 13,800 volt ph-ph powerline. He exited the vehicle and extinguished the rear dual tyre fire and then proceeded to re-enter the vehicle.
VIC – solar panels being installed by apprentices without fall protection in place. The company was fined $40k and had to pay court costs of $4k.
WA – second year apprentice suffered serious burns when working on an overhead line. Testing de-energised was not carried out, inappropriate clothing was worn and the apprentice continued to work until collapsing from the burns. The experienced worker was fined $10,500.

Product Alerts
Ampcontrol has found that their ELV Earth Leakage Protection Relay (P/N: 170447) has been counterfeited. Investigate if you have this model. More information is available from Ampcontrol.

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