Electrical worker fined and loses licence for 10 years

Tuesday, 15 October, 2019 - 12:45
Incidents & prosecutions

Queensland’s Electrical Licensing Committee recently disqualified a negligent electrical contractor from holding an electrical work licence for a period of 10 years.

The electrical sole trader was previously directed to undergo an assessment of his competency under section 64c of the Electrical Safety Act 2002 and was deemed competent in June 2019.

However, there were more complaints following the assessment about electrical work performed by the contractor in multiple locations that had multiple serious defects, breaches against AS/NZ3000 and exposed live terminals, placing people and property at serious risk from electric shock.

There were no safety management systems in place and there was a lack of auditing of employees’ work in the field to ensure procedures, legislation and Australian Standards were being met.

There was also insufficient ongoing training of testing procedures and record of test results weren’t being maintained.

Due to the serious nature of the offences, the committee determined the licence holder was negligent and a danger to the community and work colleagues if allowed to continue to work in the electrical industry.

As a result, his electrical contractor’s licence was cancelled immediately, and he was instructed to correct any electrical work defects and non-compliances at his own expense and fined $3800 as the contractor.

The committee also disqualified him from holding an electrical work licence for a period of 10 years and he was fined $3000 as the worker.

There were a number of other disciplinary hearings against six other licence holders in Queensland recently.

In one case, an electrical worker failed to isolate the switchboard due to a lack of understanding of lock/tag out and testing procedures.

The switchboard escutcheon panel was open, and the switchboard was energised when the worker was preparing conductor ends for termination into the main switchboard circuit breakers.

By failing to identify the risks, he did not demonstrate electrical competence and received an arc flash.

The worker’s licence was subsequently suspended, deferred for six months to enable completion of competency training without recognition of prior learning and to provide verification of competency in electrical risk assessment, electrical isolation, lockout/tagout, testing for dead and reenergisation following a safe system of work. He was fined $400.

In another case, an electrical contractor assigned electrical work to two electrical workers without knowing if they were licensed.

The electrical contractor failed to implement safe systems of work and the site was not de-energised correctly which resulted in the electrical apprentice receiving an electric shock and there was the potential for a more serious accident.

The contractor’s licence was suspended, deferred for six months to enable completion of two audits to be conducted by an independent auditor to ensure the contractor has adequate electrical safety systems and procedures in place and the completion of competency units by all qualified technical persons without recognition of prior learning. The contractor was fined $1000.