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Electrical worker loses licence for 10 years

The Electrical Licensing Committee disqualified a negligent electrical contractor from holding an electrical work licence for a period of 10 years. The electrical sole trader was previously directed by the committee to undergo an assessment of his competency under section 64c of the Electrical Safety Act 2002 and was deemed competent in June 2019. After the assessment, the committee received new referrals in July 2019 of electrical work performed in multiple locations that had multiple serious defects, breaches against AS/NZ3000 and exposed live terminals, placing people and property at serious risk from electric shock.

The committee determined there were no safety management systems in place and there was a lack of auditing of employees' work in the field to ensure procedures, legislation and Australian Standards were being met. There was insufficient ongoing training of testing procedures and record of test results weren't being maintained.

Due to the serious nature of the offences, the committee determined the licence holder was negligent and a danger to the community and work colleagues if allowed to continue to work in the electrical industry. As a result, his electrical contractor's licence was cancelled immediately. He was instructed to correct any electrical work defects and non-compliances at his own expense and fined $3800 as the contractor. The committee also disqualified him from holding an electrical work licence for a period of 10 years and he was fined $3000 as the worker.

During July and August 2019, the committee held disciplinary hearings against six other licence holders:

  1. An electrical worker failed to isolate the switchboard due to a lack of understanding of lock/tag out and testing procedures. The switchboard escutcheon panel was open, and the switchboard was energised when the worker was preparing conductor ends for termination into the main switchboard circuit breakers. By failing to identify the risks, he did not demonstrate electrical competence and received an arc flash. The worker's licence was suspended, deferred for six months to enable completion of competency training without recognition of prior learning and to provide verification of competency in electrical risk assessment, electrical isolation, lockout/tagout, testing for dead and reenergisation following a safe system of work. He was fined $400.
  2. In the same incident as above, the electrical contractor failed to implement safe systems of work and procedures, adequately supervise an electrical worker on-site and adequately determine the electrical worker's competency, before sending him to the job. The contractor's licence was suspended, deferred for six months to enable completion of two audits to be conducted by an independent auditor to ensure the contractor has adequate electrical safety systems and procedures in place and for all qualified technical persons (QTPs) to complete the QTP units of competency without recognition of prior learning. The contractor was fined $1000.
  3. An electrical worker failed to de-energise a site correctly causing an electrical apprentice to receive an electric shock. The worker failed to identify the risks and implement safe systems of work to ensure the safety of others. His licence was suspended, deferred for three months to enable completion of competency training without recognition of prior learning and to provide verification of competency in electrical risk assessment, electrical isolation, lockout/tagout, testing for dead and reenergisation following a safe system of work. He was fined $400.
  4. Another electrical worker failed to de-energise a site correctly, also causing an electrical apprentice to receive an electric shock. The worker failed to identify the risks and implement safe systems of work to ensure the safety of others. His licence was suspended, deferred for three months to enable completion of competency training without recognition of prior learning and to provide verification of competency in electrical risk assessment, electrical isolation, lockout/tagout, testing for dead and reenergisation following a safe system of work. He was also fined $400.
  5. An electrical contractor assigned electrical work to two electrical workers without knowing if they were licensed. The electrical contractor failed to implement safe systems of work and the site was not de-energised correctly which resulted in the electrical apprentice receiving an electric shock and there was the potential for a more serious accident. The contractor's licence was suspended, deferred for six months to enable completion of two audits to be conducted by an independent auditor to ensure the contractor has adequate electrical safety systems and procedures in place and the completion of competency units by all qualified technical persons without recognition of prior learning. The contractor was fined $1000.
  6. An electrical sole trader performed non-compliant electrical work and failed to follow installation processes leaving exposed live parts as part of electrical work for a kitchen refurbishment. Upon completion, the owner of the property noticed the defect and received an electric shock. The licence holder was disqualified from being a qualified technical person and his worker's licence was suspended, both deferred for three months to enable completion of competency training without recognition of prior learning and to provide verification of competency in electrical risk assessment, electrical isolation, lockout/tagout, testing for dead and reenergisation following a safe system of work. He was fined $300 as the worker. His contractor's licence was also suspended, deferred for six months to enable him to provide evidence of an assessment, safe system of work and inspection and test report on three completed jobs. He was fined $500 as the contractor.

The committee's actions were in addition to fines and notices already issued by the Electrical Safety Office.

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