Power station charged over arc flash death

Tuesday, 21 December, 2021

Power station charged over arc flash death

Energy Australia Yallourn Pty Ltd has been charged with three breaches of the Occupational Health and Safety Act. The charges from WorkSafe Victoria follow an incident which led to the death of an employee in 2018.

Graeme Edwards died in hospital after being severely burned by an arc flash that occurred while he was returning to service, or racking, a 6.6 kV circuit breaker at Yallourn power station.

It is alleged that the arc flash occurred when a cable Edwards was connecting made contact with live components of the circuit breaker due to a defectively attached infill panel in the cubicle where it was being installed.

WorkSafe alleges Energy Australia breached Sections 21(1) and 21(2) of the OHS Act when it failed to provide plant that was, so far as reasonably practicable, safe and without risks to health; failed to provide information, instruction and training in accordance with its operating manual; and failed to provide and maintain systems of work that were, so far as reasonable practicable, safe and without risks to health in that it failed to provide and require arc-rated personal protective equipment.

WorkSafe’s charges follow a review by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

All WorkSafe decisions to prosecute are made in accordance with its General Prosecution Guidelines, which require it to consider whether there is sufficient evidence to support a reasonable prospect of conviction and whether bringing a prosecution is in the public interest.

The matter is listed for a filing hearing at the Latrobe Valley Magistrates’ Court on 13 January 2022.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/Africa Studio

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