Electrical company fined $300K over apprentice’s death - 23.10.18

A Melbourne electrical company has been fined $300,000 after an apprentice electrician died from electrocution while working at a Camberwell property in Victoria.

The company pleaded guilty in the Melbourne Magistrate’s Court to two charges under Section 21 of the OHS Act for failing to ensure, as far as reasonably practicable, that the workplace was safe and without risk to health, and for failing to provide the supervision as was necessary for employees to perform their work safely and without risk to health.

The victim was sent to the property to install cables without supervision in preparation for a new smoke alarm in August 2016. He was working on the roof when he contacted an exposed live wire, electrocuting him.

A firefighter who attended the scene found that all circuit breakers on the circuit-breakers were in the ‘on position’.

An investigation conducted by WorkSafe also found that the company failed to prepare a Safe Work Method Statement for the work.

“Mature-aged apprentices are becoming more common so employers need to remember that age does not necessarily relate experience or competency,” said WorkSafe Head of Hazards and Hazardous Industries Michael Coffey.

“It is vital all inexperienced workers are effectively supervised, trained to perform their tasks safely, and encouraged to speak up or ask questions if they are unsure about something.

‘This tragic reminder of what can happen when electrical circuits are not isolated as they should be.”