Electrician, company fined $32K for safety breach
An electrician left a switchboard with no multiple earthed neutral, and failed to carry out mandatory tests at a Perth property.
The oversight left the property unprotected against electrical hazards for a week.
At Joondalup Magistrates Court on 5 November 2021, Balcatta company Sampson Electrical Contractors Pty Ltd and electrical worker Milan Jakovljevic were fined a combined $32,500 after pleading guilty to breaching WA’s electrical licensing regulations following a prosecution by Building and Energy.
Jakovljevic was working for Sampson Electrical Contractors when he installed a switchboard in September 2019 to supply power to the property in a northern suburb of Perth.
The court was told that during onsite tests a week after Jakovljevic’s work was carried out, a Western Power inspector discovered the switchboard had no multiple earthed neutral (MEN), a key component of the protection system.
Without an MEN, protective devices such as circuit breakers and fuses may not operate if an electrical fault occurs, which can cause metal objects to become live with dangerous levels of electricity.
The buildings were closed off until an MEN was fitted and the switchboard passed all safety tests.
Describing the breach as serious, Magistrate Colin Roberts fined Jakovljevic $7500 for the non-compliant installation and Sampson Electrical Contractors $25,000 for submitting a notice that incorrectly declared the work was checked, tested and complied with the electrical licensing regulations.
Each party was also ordered to pay costs of $348.50.
WA’s Director of Energy Safety Saj Abdoolakhan said other failures to install MENs had cost the lives of at least two WA children in recent decades and had led to several electric shocks and close calls.
“In this case, the consequences could have been devastating if a fault had occurred while there was inadequate protection against electrocution,” Abdoolakhan said.
“By law, electricians are required to undertake their own testing and verifications when they work on electrical installations. Had the electrician done his due diligence, he would have easily identified this serious defect.
“The company then falsely declared that the electrical work was checked, tested and complied with the regulations, when it obviously did not.
“There is simply no excuse for cutting corners with any area of electrical work when people’s lives are at risk.”
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