The defendant held duties under s.30 of the Electrical Safety Act 2002 as a worker.
He was the operations manager and head rigger for a subcontractor at a construction project. On 31 August 2015 he directed workers, over their objections, to lift and place a concrete tilt-up panel at an unsafe distance from high voltage electric lines, placing the crane operator and riggers at risk of death or serious injury. He repeated those actions on 1 September 2015.
The site supervisor for the head contractor was aware of the risks and objections, but acquiesced to the directions of the defendant.
The defendant was charged with two offences under the Electrical Safety Act 2002 on 31 August 2015 and 1 September 2015. He pleaded guilty in the Townsville Magistrates Court on 21 July 2017 to breaching s.40C of the Electrical Safety Act 2002, having failed to meet his electrical safety duties and was sentenced.
Magistrate Peter Smid fined the defendant $7500 as a global penalty for the two offences and ordered professional and court costs totaling $618. A conviction was recorded.
In reaching a decision, the Magistrate took into account there was a safer alternative to the practice, and that experienced persons had objected to the process and were ignored.
In deciding penalty, Magistrate Smid took into account the defendant was remorseful, had not been prosecuted previously for any work health and safety breach, co-operated with the investigation and entered an early plea of guilty. His Honour also took personal financial circumstances.
Considerations for prevention
(commentary under this heading is not part of the court's decision)
When working in the electricity industry where there is exposure to risks of electrocution and electric shock from burns from shocks, electrical explosions and electrical fires, duty holders should apply a risk management approach to ensure the selection of suitable control measures.
Risk management involves identifying the hazards, evaluating the consequences and likelihood of harm that may result from the hazard, deciding and implementing control measures to prevent or minimise the level of the risk from the hazard and monitoring the effectiveness of the control measures to ensure they remain working correctly.
When deciding and implementing control measures associated with the risk of burns or electric shock, obligation holders should consider:
- Electrical Safety Act 2002
- Electrical Safety Regulation 2013
- Electrical safety Code of Practice 2021 – Managing electrical risks in the workplace (PDF, 1.25 MB)
- Date of offence:
- Townsville Magistrates Court
- Peter Smid
- s.39 of the duty under s.40C Electrical Safety Act 2002
- Decision date:
- $7,500 global penalty
- Maximum Penalty:
- $150,000 for each offence
- Conviction recorded:
- CIS event number: