Electrical Incidents and Prosecutions (Sept/Oct/Nov 2022)

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

NSW (Sydney) – 11/2/2019: a metal handrail touched HV powerlines when being removed from a warehouse roof. A 25 year old man died and his colleague suffered serious burns to his leg after trying to kick the rail out of the 25 year old’s hands. Two companies were prosecuted and fined – the subcontractor was fined $450k and the primary contractor $600k. N.B. WHS responsibilities cannot be sub-contracted out.

NSW – Fair Trading has been conducting audits of contractors and their Certificates of Compliance of Electrical Work (CCEW). Seven electrical contractors have had their contractor licences revoked for submitting CCEWs for solar installations without supervising or inspecting the installations themselves.

NSW Mine – An ice machine, near an underground crib room, caught fire due to a faulty electrical connection and was quickly extinguished using a hand-held extinguisher.

NSW Mine – A 30 tonne excavator tramming made contact with 11kV overhead lines. Luckily the operator stayed in the machine until it was made safe.

QLD – 2 meter readers received an electric shock off the scroll button on electricity revenue meters due to leaked battery acid onto the meter from energy monitoring devices. Meter readers should check for such devices before touching meters.

QLD – An electrical contractor licensed was suspended for 6 months and fined $3k for failing to inspect and test and installation before submitting a work request for a metering alteration.

QLD – Again an electrical contractor licensed was suspended for 6 months and fined $2k for failing to  to ensure adequate inspection and testing procedures, resulting in electric shocks to several people due to a screw used to install a cable ladder cover, penetrating cable insulation.

QLD – Again an electrical contractor licensed was suspended for 6 months and fined $1.2k for failing to implement safe systems of work and ensuring that employees received an adequate induction to the business’s procedures and processes. This resulted in and electric shock incident where an MEN connection was not installed as part of alterations to a main switchboard after a PV installation.

QLD – A worker was electrocuted when a metal frame he was holding touched a high voltage overhead powerline. The frame was being moved by a mobile crane when the worker tried to prevent it hitting a nearby vehicle when contact was made with the powerline.

QLD – Disciplinary action taken against 5 contractors in October. Breaches included inappropriate qualifications, failing to lockout/tagout resulting in an electric shock, another lockout tagout offence, failing to supervise an apprentice resulting in a plumber receiving an electric shock, unsafe systems of work and procedures resulting in an unterminated live cable causing an electric shock incident. Fines ranged from $300 to $2,000 and loss of licences for up to 10 years.

VIC – A building contractor was fined $100k for working at height issues, but also for having multiple power leads piggybacked and leads exceeded 35 metres in length. Leads were hanging off structures and lying in water.

VIC – An electrical contractor has had his electrical contractor’s licence revoked and fined $1,156 for failing to issue a Certificate of Electrical Safety, failing to arrange inspections and carrying out non-compliant electrical work. He has been directed to rectify non-compliant work.

WA – A 36 year old electrician was electrocuted while working on a private metallic power pole.

WA – Western Power has been fined $66k when a worker received severe burns when washing insulators. The worker was using a hollow aluminium rod instead of a insulated or foam filled rod made from fibreglass-reinforced plastic insulation in close proximity to a 22kV conductor when a discharge occurred. The injuries have been regarded as life long for the worker.

WA – An electrical contractor and electrician fined a total of $18k for failing to install an MEN connection at one site and having active and neutral conductors transposed at another site. A non-compliant cable and connection method were also noted at the latter site. Notices were also submitted declaring the installations were checked, tested, compliant and safe.

WA – An electrician was find $4k after installing cables and leaving them hanging from the ceiling and walls ‘live’ and only taped up.

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