A District Court has imposed NSW’s highest-ever fine on a window glass company – $1 million – after a contract worker suffered an electric shock, causing burns to 30 percent of his body.
On 19 June 2014, the 49-year-old man, a contractor of WGA Pty Ltd (WGA), was installing a piece of aluminium on a window ledge at a residential-apartment construction site in South Hurstville when the power jumped to the metal from nearby 33,000-volt power lines feeding the Illawarra train line.
Prior to the incident, a SafeWork NSW inspector and Sydney Trains had provided advice to WGA about working safely around these power lines. However, the Court was told that WGA did not heed this advice, hence the Court found the company failed to take the necessary steps to protect the worker – such as having electricity to the power lines isolated before undertaking external work to the building.
Following the incident, an investigation was launched by SafeWork NSW and WGA was charged with a breach of the Work Health and Safety Act. It was then convicted and sentenced last week in the District Court.
There really is no excuse for this kind of event happening, when you have the correct method of work and you choose not to do it then a million dollar fine is barely enough. It’s important to note that working around any High Voltage electricity is extremely dangerous and should only be carried out by experts.
Remember the Hierachy of Controls, Isolation is the minimum level you should have in place for this kind of work.