Disciplinary action taken over unsafe electrical work


Friday, 07 August, 2020


Disciplinary action taken over unsafe electrical work

Action has been taken by the Electrical Licensing Committee against six electrical licence holders in May and June 2020.

According to an alert from the Queensland Electrical Safety Office, a number of licences were suspended and fines handed down for unsafe practices.

In one instance, an electrical worker failed to identify electrical risks and implement safe systems of work when he installed a new main switchboard and submains. The submains were connected with incorrect polarity, resulting in the earthing system becoming live.

The property manager and worker received shocks because the worker didn’t complete all mandatory tests, so the reverse polarity wasn’t identified.

The worker’s licence was suspended for six 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, another incident occurred when an electrical contractor had inadequate testing procedures and did not provide sufficient ongoing staff training to ensure workers’ competency. He assigned an electrical worker to complete a new main switchboard upgrade as part of a solar PV system install.

The electrical worker and property manager received shocks because the worker didn’t compete all mandatory tests, so a reversed polarity on the submain wasn’t identified. The worker left the submain to the residence isolated and advised the owners to engage a local electrical contractor to investigate further.

The electrical contractor failed to adequately audit the employee’s work in the field to ensure procedures, legislation and Australian Standards were met.

The contractor’s licence was suspended for six months, with a requirement for all qualified technical persons (QTPs) to complete competency units. The contractor must also provide confirmation of completed jobs by the electrical worker prior to the incident that show compliance to the Electrical Safety Regulation 2013, as well as complete two approved electrical safety systems audits from an independent auditor and pay a $1200 fine, which will be listed on the licensing public register for three years.

During a third incident, an electrical worker performed electrical work as part of repairs to a bathroom in a residential building. He failed to identify electrical risk and implement a safe system of work and left the bathroom with exposed unterminated conductors on a bathroom light switch, which the home owner and their young child touched and received shocks.

The worker’s licence was suspended for six months and he must complete competency units prior to the suspension being lifted. He was also fined $600, which will be listed on the licensing public register for three years.

The Electrical Safety Office said another electrical contractor did not implement safe systems of work and procedures after failing to isolate, lockout and tagout, leaving an exposed unterminated conductor. As a result, a person and a young child received a shock, with the potential for a more serious incident.

The contractor’s licence was suspended for six months, with a requirement for all QTPs to complete competency units. The contractor must also complete two approved electrical safety system audits from an independent auditor and pay a $1500 fine, which will be listed on the licensing public register for three years.

During a separate incident, an electrical worker failed to adequately supervise an electrical apprentice and take precautions to prevent de-energised equipment from being inadvertently re-energised while the apprentice was connecting two socket outlets.

Undertaking a separate task, the worker isolated the power before he worked on an air-conditioning system at the switchboard.

After connecting the air-conditioning system, the worker reinstated supply to the installation while the apprentice was still working. As a result, the apprentice received a shock and sustained burns.

The worker’s licence was suspended for six 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.

Finally, another electrical contractor failed to implement safe systems of work when requesting an electrical worker and first-year electrical apprentice to conduct an installation. The apprentice received a shock and sustained burns when the equipment was in-advertently re-energised.

The contractor’s licence was suspended for six months, with a requirement for all QTPs to complete competency units and the contractor must complete two approved electrical safety system audits from an independent auditor.

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

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/Andrey Popov

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