Electrical workers fined for safety breaches


Tuesday, 04 February, 2020


Electrical workers fined for safety breaches

Seven electrical licence holders had action taken against them in December 2019, according to the Queensland Electrical Safety Office.

In one instance, an electrical work licence holder responsible for supervising electrical work failed to adequately supervise an electrical worker and implement safe systems of work. An electrical worker and an apprentice were tasked with testing and energising a switchboard but did not take precautions to prevent de-energised equipment being inadvertently re-energised. As a result, the worker received a shock and the apprentice was exposed to the risk of shock. The Electrical Safety Office said the supervisor’s licence was suspended for three months and he must complete competency units prior to the suspension being lifted. He was also fined $800, which will be listed on the licensing public register for three years.

Another electrical contractor failed to implement and enforce appropriate safe systems of work and procedures and to verify the competency of workers. According to the Electrical Safety Office, an electrical worker received a shock and burns and an apprentice was exposed to energised equipment. The contractor’s licence was suspended and deferred for nine months to allow participation in the Safety Leadership at Work LEAD program. Employees will be required to complete a baseline safety culture survey, attend a Frontline Safety leadership course and participate in an evaluation survey and program closeout before the suspension is lifted. The LEAD program aims to create large-scale change in safety culture in the electrical industry.

The Electrical Safety Office reported that in another incident, an electrical worker received a shock and burns after he failed to test and isolate before an installation on a live circuit breaker. He also exposed an electrical apprentice with less than six months’ experience to energised equipment. His licence was suspended for three months and he must complete competency units prior to the suspension being lifted. He was also fined $800, which will be listed on the licensing public register for three years.

During a fourth incident, an electrical worker failed to implement a safe work method, assess risks and ‘test for dead’ before undertaking an electrical installation. The Electrical Safety Office said he failed to ensure the electrical equipment was isolated and safe to work on, and was performing electrical work on a main switchboard as part of a solar PV system installation while it was energised. As a result, he received an arc flash and burns. His 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.

According to the Electrical Safety Office, an electrical worker failed to demonstrate competency in electrical safety and electrical risk when connecting a current transformer meter to a source of electricity without circuit protection and testing to ensure it was electrically safe. When operating the main isolator, an internal short within the electrical meter occurred, resulting in a catastrophic failure of the meter. The worker received an arc flash and was treated for burns. His licence was suspended for three months and he must complete competency units prior to the suspension being lifted. He was also fined $300.

Another electrical contractor failed to implement safe systems of work, procedures and audit systems when an electrical worker did not demonstrate adequate testing knowledge and completed an electrical installation on energised equipment. As a result, the Electrical Safety Office said the worker sustained an arc flash and was treated for burns. The contractor’s licence was suspended for six months, with a requirement for all QTPs to complete competency units and for the contractor to provide two approved electrical safety systems audits from an independent auditor before the suspension is lifted.

In a seventh incident, the qualified technical person (QTP) for an electrical contractor failed to adequately supervise electrical workers onsite and identify electrical hazards and risks. The Electrical Safety Office said failure to ensure safe systems of work and adequate testing procedures resulted in a worker conducting an electrical installation on energised equipment and receiving a shock and burns to his hands. The QTP’s electrical work licence was suspended for three months and he must complete competency units prior to the suspension being lifted. The QTP was also fined $400, which will be listed on the licensing public register for three years.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/Sergey Novikov

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