Details of successful prosecution against E159773 - Company 2
The defendant company held obligations under s.27 of the Electrical Safety Act 2002 to ensure work it was doing was electrically safe. It engaged another company (a defendant in this matter) to provide construction and installation of wiring incorporating lengths of cable in trenches and construction of switchboards provide power to the site and allow for construction work.
The defendant performed electrical installation work during the course of construction of residential duplex dwellings. It was in control of the worksite and in control of its workers. On 27 February 2012 the power to temporary sub switchboards was not isolated prior to work commencing. One of the defendant's workers, a 20 year old doing general laboring, was asked to provide assistance by another of the defendant's workers straightening electrical equipment (temporary switchboards). The worker grabbed the temporary meter box to move it, while another labourer seized the metal stake attached to the box. As the worker moved the box, the protective conduit also moved – exposing supply cable conductors to metal edges of the conduit hole in the switchboard. As the power was not isolated it energised the exposed parts of the switchboard. The worker moving the box was electrocuted.
The defendant pleaded guilty in the Mackay Industrial Magistrates Court on 21 November 2014 to breaching s.30 of the Electrical Safety Act 2002, having failed to meet its electrical safety obligations and was sentenced.
Industrial Magistrate Damian Dwyer fined the defendant $80 000 and ordered investigation, professional and court costs totaling $9856.25. No conviction was recorded.
In reaching a decision, the Industrial Magistrate acknowledged the defendant failed to ensure the safety of its workers when it had the capacity to do so. This resulted in the worker not being free from electrical risk. In addition to failing to ensure isolation, the defendant failed to provide adequate information including safety warnings and signage about the hazards of energised construction wiring and personal protective equipment while handling electrical equipment that was or could be energised.
In deciding penalty, Industrial Magistrate Dwyer took into account the defendant had not been prosecuted previously for any electrical or work health and safety breach, co-operated with the investigation and entered a plea of guilty at an early opportunity – subsequent to interlocutory applications being complete.
The court was made aware of the impact of the incident on the family by way of written statements. In particular, the father of the deceased worker requested he provide information to the court about the impact of the loss orally. He was permitted to read his statement.
Considerations for prevention
(commentary under this heading is not part of the court's decision)
When working in the construction industry or around electricity where there is exposure to risks from electrical work, duty holders should consider the following:
- Electricity, gas, water and waste services
- E159773 - Company 2
- Date of offence:
- Fatality - electrocution
- Mackay Industrial Magistrates Court
- Mr Damian Dwyer
- s.30 Electrical Safety Act 2002
- Decision date:
- Fine $80 000
- Maximum Penalty:
- $500 000
- Conviction recorded:
- CIS event number:
- Last updated
- 02 July 2018
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