Electric shocks prompt electrical licence suspensions


Wednesday, 17 November, 2021

Electric shocks prompt electrical licence suspensions

Disciplinary action was taken against 15 electrical licence holders by the Electrical Licensing Committee in July and August 2021, according to WorkSafe Queensland.

Several of these incidents involved electric shocks to workers or home occupants.

First-year apprentice not properly supervised

WorkSafe Queensland said an electrical worker failed to adequately supervise a first-year electrical apprentice while commissioning and testing a 240 V streetlight supply.

The apprentice put his ungloved hand in the cavity to terminate the neutral and inadvertently touched the live terminal of the circuit breaker, receiving a shock.

The electrical worker had minimal experience and competency as a supervisor, didn’t follow a safe system of work and failed to identify the risk to the apprentice. He demonstrated the process of conducting a polarity and fault loop impedance test to the apprentice, who was then left to connect the neutral conductor in close proximity to exposed live parts.

The worker’s licence was suspended for six months and he must complete competency units prior to the suspension being lifted. He was also issued with a caution.

Failure to implement safe system of work

An electrical contractor failed to implement a safe system of work when a first-year electrical apprentice received an electric shock after contacting a live low-voltage exposed part.

The committee determined that the contractor failed to have adequate audit systems in place to ensure the workers and the work performed was electrically safe and that management was allocating electrical work without adequately ensuring the people performing the work were trained, licensed and competent.

The contractor’s licence was suspended for 12 months and he must complete three approved electrical safety system audits from an independent auditor prior to the suspension being lifted. He was fined $3000 and issued with a severe reprimand, both of which will be listed on the licensing public register for three years.

Employee falls off roof after electric shock

An electrical contractor failed to ensure adequate SWMS and risk assessments were implemented when an employee received an electric shock and fell off a roof.

The worker undertaking the electrical work had not performed a risk assessment and the electrical contractor said they were not aware that an SWMS was required for the type of work being performed. The contractor failed to adequately supervise the work and demonstrate workers were competent to perform the work safely.

The contractor’s licence was suspended for six months and he must complete two approved electrical safety system audits from an independent auditor and ensure all QTP competency units are completed prior to the suspension being lifted. The contractor was issued with a caution and fined $1000.

Home occupants receive electric shocks

An electrical worker failed to conduct mandatory testing and follow a safe system of work to ensure an electrical installation was safe before it was energised. As a result, the occupants of the home reported receiving electric shocks due to the transposed active and neutral conductors at the mains connection box.

The worker’s licence was suspended for three months and he must complete competency units prior to the suspension being lifted. He was issued with a caution and fined $300.

Failure to find electrical fault

An electrical worker responsible for verifying an electrical installation following reports of occupants receiving electric shocks could not identify the fault and left the site. The occupants continued to receive shocks resulting in Ergon Energy identifying that the neutral and earth were live.

His licence was suspended for three months and he must complete competency units prior to the suspension being lifted. He was issued with a caution and fined $200.

Correct test and isolation procedures not followed

An electrical contractor failed to implement safe systems of work and procedures and carry out audits to ensure correct test and isolation procedures were being followed.

Electrical workers and supervisors failed to correctly test and identify a reverse polarity, which resulted in the home occupants receiving several electric shocks.

The contractor’s licence was suspended for six months and he must complete two approved electrical safety system audits from an independent auditor prior to the suspension being lifted. He was issued with a reprimand and a $3000 fine, both of which will be listed on the licensing public search register.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/zolnierek

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