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Mandatory safety breach while working on powerlines

A workplace incident involving an apprentice line-worker who suffered serious burns when working on an electric line, reminds us about the dangers that exist when working on or near electricity entity assets.

This 2022 incident involved an experienced worker and a second-year apprentice who were performing repairs to a fire damaged powerline on Western Australia’s electricity network.

The investigation found the experienced worker failed to follow mandatory safe work practices, did not test to verify that the conductors were de-energised, and falsely certified that protective earths had been applied. Compounding the issue, the apprentice was not wearing adequate protective clothing and despite experiencing an electric shock, continued to undertake work activities until he collapsed with serious burns.

The experienced worker was fined $10,500 for failing to follow safe work practices.

This incident demonstrates the importance of following the processes and procedures put in place to protect workers in the electricity industry.

The Electrical Safety Office reminds all workers of their duty to follow reasonable instructions and policy or procedures relating to electrical safety. This incident also highlights the importance of adequate supervision of apprentices and encourages all workers to speak up if they have safety concerns.

Further information

For more about working on or near powerlines: Powerlines and electrical cables

Read more: Guilty plea over apprentice’s electric shock – Darren Scott Hardy | Department of Energy, Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (