A self-employed electrician was recently fined more than $100,000 for performing non-compliant and unsafe electrical work in South-East Queensland, in contravention of the Electrical Safety Act 2002 (Qld), over a 13-month period.
The defendant pleaded guilty to six charges relating to failing to comply with his electrical safety duty, in particular in relation to electrical wiring which was unsafe and not in accordance with the 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 defendant between January 2020 and February 2021.
The defendant 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 $8,000 in fines.
The State-wide Investigation Unit, 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.
Her Honour considered the purpose of the legislation, which is directed at eliminating the human cost to individuals, families and the community of death, injury and destruction caused by electricity. Her Honour also remarked that the defendant knowingly placed persons at risk, and his non-compliant work also imposed an additional burden and cost to the homeowners to remedy the electrical work.
The defendant was also ordered to pay professional costs and court filing fees of $1,905.60. No conviction was recorded.
Electrical contractor licence numbers can be checked through the online licence search tool. If the electrical contractor is not in the database, call 1300 632 993.