- Potentially fatal voltage but home owner luckily avoided serious injury
- Live exposed wires left behind after air-conditioner removal
- Electrical contractor fined $25,000 and electrical worker fined $10,000
A Scarborough home owner was lucky to avoid serious injury after receiving an electric shock from live exposed wiring that an electrician failed to isolate.
At Perth Magistrates Court on 3 February 2023, licensed electrical contractor Redprize Nominees Pty Ltd (EC8116) and licensed electrical worker John Edward Wigley (EW147985) were fined a total of $35,000 in relation to the 2021 incident.
According to information presented in court by Building and Energy, the home owner engaged Redprize Nominees for electrical work including removal of an existing split-system air-conditioner and installation of a new unit elsewhere. The work was carried out by Mr Wigley, the company’s director.
Later that day, while tidying the garden under the old air-conditioner location, the home owner received an electric shock after touching live wires that were sticking out of the ground.
A Western Power inspector attended the property and measured 233 volts between the exposed single-insulated conductors.
Redprize Nominees later reimbursed the home owner for expenses including work by another electrician and the loss of fridge items while the power was off.
In court, Mr Wigley was found guilty and fined $10,000 for breaching WA’s Electricity (Licensing) Regulations 1991 because he failed to carry out electrical work to the required standards.
Redprize Nominees was also found guilty of breaching the Regulations by not ensuring that mandatory checks and tests were carried out. The company was fined $25,000.
Magistrate Richard Huston said the serious breaches exposed the home owner to “invisible” risks from electricity. His Honour noted the “higher expectations” for the electrical industry compared to other trades and the need for general and personal deterrence.
WA’s Director of Energy Safety, Saj Abdoolakhan, said the voltage in the exposed conductors could have been fatal.
“It is incredibly fortunate that the home owner was not seriously injured,” he said.
“The issue would have easily been detected if the electrical worker had carried out mandatory checks and tests, which only take a few minutes.
“Electrical contractors must also instil a culture of compliance and safety among all their staff. There is no place for cutting corners when people’s lives could be at risk.”