Electrician fined for causing injury to himself and a co-worker
An electrician has been fined $4,000 in the Southport Magistrates Court for failing to comply with his electrical duties under s40c of the Electrical Safety Act 2002 (“the Act).
The electrician, who was qualified and a director of a company, was contracted to install solar panel systems at the ‘Ashmore Pitstop’, a commercial building located at Ashmore on the Gold Coast.
At approximately 10:30 am on 19 January 2021, the electrician and a co-worker entered the main switchboard room to determine the appropriate size electrical cable that needed to be purchased for installation the following day.
After removing the switchboard cabinet doors, he was unable to determine the necessary cable size. He then decided to use a flathead screwdriver to remove the plastic cover shielding on one of the meters without isolating the electrical cables.
During this task, the screwdriver either struck or came into close proximity to a live electrical cable, causing an ‘arc flash’, leading to significant injuries to both the electrician and his co-worker.
As a result of the incident, the electrician sustained burns to 20% of his body and was placed in an induced coma for ten days. He required skin grafts to be performed on both his hands and face.
In the months after the injury, he suffered psychological trauma, including nightmares, and was diagnosed with depression.
His co-worker was not as seriously injured but did sustain burns to his face and left hand and was diagnosed with PTSD following the incident.
In determining an appropriate penalty, Magistrate Jane Bentley considered the electrician’s early guilty plea, significant remorse shown for his actions, and the financial impact upon his business due to his inability to undertake work after the incident.
She imposed a penalty of $4,000, with no conviction recorded.
For queries about safety, electrical work, or other employment questions, please contact Dean Cameron at Workforce Advisory Lawyers – We Know Employment Law on 1300 925 529, 0417 622 178 or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Disclaimer: This information is provided as general advice on workplace relations and employment law. It does not constitute legal advice, and it is always advisable to seek further information regarding specific workplace issues. Liability limited by a scheme approved under professional standards legislation.