Electrical Incidents and Prosecutions (May/June 2022)

Some research shows that the 35 to 44 year old age group is the most vulnerable group of workers. The two report deaths below supports this research. Regardless, all age groups need to be careful, follow procedures, look after each other, and most importantly, go home at the end of the working day.

  • 35 yr old NSW electrician electrocuted. He was completing works on an electrical circuit underneath a house when he made contact with ‘live’ wires.
  • 39 yr old SA electrician dies inside in an electrical pit in Adelaide’s south. The cause of death is unknown at this stage. His mates worked frantically to rescue him but to no avail.
  • 52 yr old receives severe electric shock in SA. CPR was commenced ASAP. The incident occurred at a height and the victim had to be lowered to the ground.
  • SA wine bottling company fined $120,000 for failing to comply with a prohibition notice. The notice was issues after a bottling plant was purchased from China, installed by Chinese workers who did not have the correct trade qualifications and the work failed to comply with Australian Standards. The plant had been locked out but the company continued to use the plant, exposing employees to the risk of injury or death.
  • NSW mine or quarry – an excavator made contact with an underslung earth wire causing it to snap and the overhead line conductors to clash, arc and trip. Overhead an underground electricity mains need to be adequately managed at all worksites.
  • QLD Electrical Licensing Committee took disciplinary action against 12 electrical licence holders in May 2022. The failings of these licence holders included failing to lock out/tag out, not adequately supervising apprentices, failing to implement safe systems of work, failing to identify electrical hazards, risk assess and control hazards, leaving exposed live parts unattended at a school, failing to conduct mandatory inspection and tests, failing to isolate all sources of supply, and failing to ensure electrical work was tested by a competent person. Many of the incidents resulted in electric shock incidents and prosecution, licence suspension and fines.
  • QLD Worksafe advise “there have been some serious electrical incidents involving multimeters recently which highlighted the risk of using them incorrectly rated or inadequately insulated for the job”.

Our sympathies go out to all the family and friends of all the deceased and injured. Their deaths and injuries serve as a reminder that electricity can never be underestimated and our risk assessment must adequately manage the electrical hazard. All electrical work must also be carried out in accordance with standards and the laws.

N.B. These are only the incidents and prosecutions that we are made aware for the reporting period.

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