Electrical licence holders face disciplinary action


Tuesday, 27 July, 2021

Electrical licence holders face disciplinary action

Ten electrical licence holders have had action taken against them during April–May 2021, according to the Electrical Safety Office in Queensland.

In the first instance, a worker performed electrical work outside the limitations of his electrical fitter licence when he installed a wall oven and hardwired it to the electrical supply via a socket outlet rather than a dedicated electrical circuit. The homeowner received intermittent electric shocks when touching the oven while it was on. An investigation revealed that the worker failed to ensure the electrical work complied with the wiring rules and, as a result, the work was not electrically safe. The worker was immediately disqualified from holding an electrical work licence. He must complete competency units prior to the disqualification being lifted and was fined $500.

The second electrical worker failed to identify electrical hazards and implement safe systems of work while repairing a security light system. During a voltage test on the sub board, he created an arc flash and sustained burns to his hands and face. The probe lead was observed in the multimeter terminal for testing current, rather than in the terminal for testing voltage. The worker also failed to wear appropriate PPE for testing live. His licence was suspended for three months and he must complete competency units prior to the suspension being lifted. He was reprimanded and fined $400, which will be listed on the licensing public register for three years.

In the third case, an electrical contractor failed to implement safe systems of work and ensure the competency of an electrical worker. As a result, the worker received arc flash burns. The contractor also failed to ensure PPE was worn and electrical test equipment was fit for the purpose of the work. 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 also fined $800, which will be listed on the licensing public register for three years.

The fourth electrical worker did not perform mandatory tests set out in AS/NZS 3000 while upgrading a switchboard. An electrical safety inspector observed exposed unterminated conductors, unenclosed energised unterminated cables, and unenclosed cables with exposed live parts. The worker’s licence was suspended for three months and he was disqualified from being a QTP for six months. He must complete competency units prior to the suspension and disqualification being lifted. He was also fined $400, which will be listed on the licensing public register for three years.

In the fifth case, an electrical contractor did not have sufficient testing procedures in place while performing a switchboard upgrade. A live cable was therefore not identified, creating a risk of electric shock. 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 also fined $800, which will be listed on the licensing public register for three years.

The sixth electrical worker failed to identify an unterminated live cable when installing a circuit for an emergency light. He didn’t record a variation on the electrical plan, and so when he later fitted office wiring for the lighting circuit, he inadvertently connected the wiring for the anticipated emergency light. This left the other end of the cable unterminated and exposed, which gave an electric shock to another person. The worker’s licence was suspended for three months and he must complete competency units prior to the suspension being lifted. He was also fined $200.

In the seventh disciplinary case, an electrical contractor failed to implement safe systems of work and procedures while working on an electrical installation of a new office space. The electrical installation did not comply with the wiring rules and an unterminated cable was not identified. Another worker contacted the cable and received a shock. The contractor’s licence was suspended for six months and he must complete two approved electrical safety systems audits from an independent auditor prior to the suspension being lifted. He was also fined $800, which will be listed on the licensing public search register for three years.

In the eighth instance, an electrical worker did not complete mandatory testing when he installed a new grid-connected PV system on a shed. He created an immediate electrical risk by failing to reconnect the submain neutral to the shed, causing a risk in potential on the earthing system. As a result, a person received an electric shock. The worker’s licence was suspended for three months and he must complete competency units prior to the suspension being lifted. He was also fined $400, which will be listed on the licensing public register for three years.

The ninth electrical worker failed to complete mandatory tests and identify electrical risks while working on school grounds. He energised a lighting circuit without conducting or confirming tests had been completed to ensure the circuit was safe to energise. As a result, another electrical worker received a shock. The worker’s licence was suspended for three months and he must complete competency units prior to the suspension being lifted. He was also fined $200.

Finally, the 10th electrical contractor failed to ensure safe systems of work when his worker failed to complete testing, resulting in another worker receiving a shock. The contractor did not manage risks to account for changing work environments that saw workers complete fit-off, commissioning and energising work at the same time, while also managing time constraints. 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 also fined $2000, which will be listed on the licensing public register for three years.

The Electrical Licensing Committee’s actions were in addition to fines and notices already issued by the Electrical Safety Office.

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

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