Australian company fined A$75,000 after worker suffers serious electrical shock
07 November 2017
A construction company in Toowoomba, Queensland, was fined $75,000 and ordered to pay costs of almost $1,000 after a worker suffered a serious electrical shock on 25 November 2015. The company pleaded guilty to failing to operate in an electrically safe manner, exposing people to the risk of death or serious injury.
Safetyculture Australia reported that a supervisor for a construction company building a house failed to notice a 12.7 kVolt power line under the site and did not complete a hazard identification checklist prior to construction starting.
A roofer installing galvanised steel handrail came within 30 centimetres of the powerline resulting in an arc flash that energised the metallic rail. The worker received severe burns and other significant injuries from the high-voltage current flowing through his body.
In sentencing, Magistrate Robert Davies took into account the defendant had been negligent in the extreme, and as a result, a worker suffered significant injuries.
But he also noted that it was a first offence for the company, which had entered an early guilty plea and cooperated with the investigation. The company directors also demonstrated a high degree of remorse through post-incident measures taken to ensure safety in the future, the magistrate said, and no conviction was recorded.