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Electrician prosecuted for unsafe electrical work in ceiling spaces


22 September 2023

A former qualified electrician, who operated as a sole trader, has been fined $40,000 in the Brisbane Magistrates Court after pleading guilty to three charges relating to failing to comply with an electrical safety duty.

Following a three-year Electrical Safety Office (ESO) investigation, the defendant entered a guilty plea to three charges of installing electrical wiring in ceiling spaces in three residential properties between June 2018 and May 2019, that was not in compliance with Australian Standard 3000:2018 (known as the 'Wiring Rules').

The court heard the wiring was installed in such a manner that anyone entering the ceiling space could have been exposed to a risk of death or serious injury from an electric shock.

A complaint, lodged with the ESO in April 2018, uncovered non-compliant wiring at a residential house under construction. Enforcement action was taken against the electrical contractor by the ESO to ensure he was aware of his electrical contractor duties.

In March 2019, the ESO again received complaints about the quality of electrical work being performed by the defendant, with reports that socket outlets in new residential properties were not working. Inspections by the ESO found extensive wiring rules contraventions at multiple locations.

During the three-year investigation, it was observed there were numerous wiring rule contraventions exposing people to the risk of electric shock. Immediate actions were taken by inspectors to ensure electrical safety.

On completion of the investigation, the matter was referred to the Office of the Work Health and Safety Prosecutor and the prosecution commenced on three charges for failing to comply with an electrical safety duty under section 40C (section 30 Duty of PCBU) of the Electrical Safety Act 2002 (ES Act).

Magistrate Michael Holohan found there was 'flagrant disregard' for the requisite rules and that the defendant had already received punishment by way of a 10-year license suspension and $6800 in fines.

His Honour fined the defendant $40,000 plus costs of $854. No conviction was recorded.

The ESO will continue proactive auditing within the electrical industry and pursue all enforcement options for businesses and individuals failing to comply with electrical safety and licensing legislation.

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