QLD: electrician fined over $100,000 for unsafe electrical work

The following article is a news item provided for the benefit of the Workplace Health and Safety profession. Its content does not necessarily reflect the views of the Australian Institute of Health & Safety.
Monday, 20 March, 2023 - 12:45
Incidents & prosecutions

A self-employed electrician was recently fined more than $100,000 for performing non-compliant and unsafe electrical work in South-East Queensland over a 13-month period.

The electrician pleaded guilty to six charges relating to breaching the Electrical Safety Act 2002 (Qld), in particular in relation to electrical wiring which was unsafe and not in accordance with wiring rules, together with a regulatory breach relating to how he dealt with asbestos.

These charges followed a prolonged investigation by the Electrical Safety Office (ESO) and Workplace Health and Safety Queensland (WHSQ) into the performance of unsafe electrical work performed by the electrician between January 2020 and February 2021.

The electrician first came to the attention of the ESO in early 2020 following complaints concerning the quality of electrical work being performed by his company, including the installation of switchboards, air-conditioning units, circuit wiring, lights and socket outlets in residential properties in South-East Queensland.

Electrical inspections by the ESO uncovered unsafe electrical work and wiring rules contraventions at multiple locations, two of which caused electric shocks to the homeowners, resulting in 30 improvement notices and two infringement notices being issued by the ESO inspectors.

The Electrical Safety Office immediately suspended the man’s electrical work licence and referred the matter to the Electrical Licensing Committee resulting in the disqualification of his electrical work licence for five years and disqualification of his Qualified Technical Person (QTP) status and electrical contractor licence for 10 years, together with $8000 in fines.

The Office of Industrial Relations then referred the matter to the Office of the Work Health and Safety Prosecutor.

The Magistrate convicted and fined the man $99,600, telling him that the community and public expectation was that as a qualified electrician, he would carry out safe electrical work.

The defendant was also ordered to pay professional costs and court filing fees of $1,905.60, and no conviction was recorded.