Electrical Incidents and Prosecutions (Sept – Nov 2023)

Electrical incidents and prosecutions we were made aware of since our last newsletter are summarised below.

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.

Florida – a father of four received an electric shock in a fountain and died of his injuries in hospital after he spotted and tried to rescue two children faced down in the fountain. The children seem to have survived.
NSW – a battery exploded which was part of a 110V DC closing supply for a HV circuit breaker.
NSW – An electrician tested de-energised and found a ‘live’ circuit. Recent wiring changes made the isolation incorrect. Wiring diagrams and isolations had not been updated.
NSW – An electrician terminating a new MCC panel received an electric shock to their forearm after touching the end of a cable believed to be redundant.
NSW – Two fitters carrying out maintenance work on a continuous miner received electric shocks.
NSW – Over 2,000 people received shock in NSW workplaces over the last 4 years – more than 5 incidents/day.
NSW – an electrician received an electric shock while investigation an fridge electrical fault in a crib room due to a damaged and exposed conductor in a flexible cable. The RCD did not trip but tested OK.
NSW – Smoke was noticed coming from a continuous miner that was cutting a plunge, followed by a pop and a flash. An electric arc had been established without the protection equipment operating.
QLD – Gold Coast company director has been fine$4,000 plus $1,000 costs for an ac flash incident that caused serious burns to a worker. Switchboard cabinet doors were removed and an escutcheon panel partially open when the incident occurred.
QLD – A man in north Brisbane was stapling signs to a power pole when an 11kV cable was pierced resulting in an explosion and burns to his face – life-altering injuries. A screwdriver either contacted or came closed to live cables causing the incident.
QLD – Unlicenced, non-compliant and unsafe work by apprentice resulted in a fine of $45,000 in August.
QLD – electrician failed to conduct testing and verification to the Wiring Rules resulting in penalties to $500 and licence suspension for 3 months as well as mandatory training requirements.
QLD – Ergon Energy has been fined $300,000 over the death of Cody Smith who was electrocuted on a pineapple farm near Yeppoon. Five other people also received shocks in the incident. The top of a harvester had hit low conductors causing the incident back in 2021. Life will never be the same for some of the surviving victims.
SA – Regulation-Roundup-Issue-52-September-2023 details numerous electric shock incidents including those to occupiers, homeowners and electrical workers.
VIC – Electrician cutting a cable in a residential property caused an explosion resulting in burns and hospitalisation.
VIC – An electrician caused an arc fault in an office switchboard and was hospitalised with burns.
VIC – An electrical worker fell and died in an incomplete scaffolding system at a domestic construction site.
VIC – An electrician suffered an electric shock but was resuscitated. The electrician was testing in a newly manufactured switchboard.
WA – an electrician was fined $11,000 and costs after installing inverters in close proximity to vented lead acid batteries.
WA – Bridgetown: homeowner received multiple electric shocks caused by a wiring error that an electrician failed to detect and rectify. The installation had been connected reverse polarity two days prior by an apprentice.

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