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Electrical contractor fined for apprentice electric shock

Published:
Wednesday 16 August 2023 at 5:13 am

An electrical contractor, its director and on-site supervisor have received fines after an apprentice came into contact with live parts of a junction box while working without supervision during the rewiring of a house.

J.L. Hutt Electrical Pty Ltd and its director Jason Hutt received fines and incurred costs totalling $30,599 at Ringwood Magistrates Court on 10 August. Charges were brought against the company by both WorkSafe and Energy Safe Victoria. The apprentice’s on-site supervisor Austin Calverley was fined a further $2,500. 

On 21 February 2021, the apprentice suffered a serious electric shock after touching a live junction box. 

The apprentice was working alone under the house in Croydon completing rewiring work near energised electrical circuits. The on-site supervisor, Austin Calverley, was on the roof and not providing direct supervision.

The apprentice was lucky to survive the incident, sustaining ’s injuries to his hand that required two skin grafts, and nine months of rehabilitation.
In the past seven years Energy Safe has investigated the deaths of five apprentice electricians.

“This is an unacceptable statistic. Apprentices are the most vulnerable workers in the electrical trades,” CEO of Energy Safe Leanne Hughson said. “They are learning their trade, building their knowledge and need effective supervision. It’s not only the right thing to do, it is the law.”

“There are close to 11,000 electrical apprentices in Victoria. They should be looking toward a bright future in a vibrant industry, not months of rehabilitation from injuries that should have been avoided.”

During Energy Safe’s investigation into this incident additional breaches of the Electricity Safety Act and Regulations were uncovered. These included:

  • the Company employed an unlicensed worker who was undertaking electrical installation work; and
  • the Certificate of Electrical Safety contained an incorrect date of completion to conceal that the work was not inspected until two months after it was completed.

In Victoria, those who employ apprentice electricians have a duty under the Electricity Safety (General) Regulations 2019, to ensure apprentices are provided effective supervision in accordance with the Requirements for Effective Supervision of Apprentice Electricians, as published by Energy Safe.

A supervisor of an electrical apprentice must be competent, adequately qualified in the role of supervisor and hold an Electricians’ licence (A Grade). The supervisor of the apprentice must also ensure they provide effective supervision in accordance with the Requirements for effective supervision of apprentice electricians.  

More information: https://www.esv.vic.gov.au/licensing/your-responsibilities/employers-electricians/requirements-effective-supervision  

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