Disciplinary hearings

The Board has not been able to pursue prosecutions of non-registered persons over the lockdown period as the Courts attended to essential matters.

The Board has, however, dealt with a number of disciplinary cases involving registered persons as “on the papers hearings”.

The Board continues to receive a disproportionate number of cases about solar photovoltaic installations. A number of practitioners fail to apply the requirements of the various mandated standards that apply to such installations. There is an article in this Electron (Electron 102) pointing electrical workers to resources that assist those who carry out or intend to carry out such work.

Another case before the Board involved PEW in a factory where the electrical worker failed to take adequate steps to isolate live conductors. A factory worker received an electric shock as a result. The working environment was complex and there was an intention to return to complete the work. The electric shock incident occurred prior to the electrical worker returning. This case serves as a reminder to all electrical workers to make sure that conductors are disconnected, correctly isolated, or made safe so as to avoid the risk of serious harm to others.

Finally, the Board has noted a disconcerting practice in a number of cases of electrical workers using an earth conductor as a phase or neutral conductor by sleeving it at the termination point. This is not only a noncompliant practice it is an extremely dangerous one. There have been recent deaths as a result of electrical workers cutting into what they believed were earth conductors at points where the conductor was not sleeved. Electrical workers must not ever sleeve an earth conductor.

Disciplinary cases

February 2020 Finding Penalty
Practitioner 1 The Practitioner was found to have negligently created a risk of serious harm to any person, or a risk of significant property damage as well as carrying out PEW in a manner contrary to an enactment in relation to a solar photovoltaic install. The Practitioner accepted that he had failed to follow the applicable standards and that he undertook PEW that he was not competent to carry out. The Practitioner also failed to provide a CoC and an ESC. The matter was dealt with by way of an agreed statement of facts. The Practitioner accepted his wrongdoing and had taken action since to improve his business and work practices. The Board adopted a starting point of a fine of $4,000 but reduced this to $2,000 on the basis of his admission and the mitigating factors present. He was ordered to pay costs of $500.
March 2020 Finding Penalty
Practitioner 1 The Practitioner accepted he negligently created a risk of serious harm to any person, or a risk of significant property damage by failing to ensure adequate measures to prevent accidental contact with exposed electrical parts. The failing led to a person receiving an electric shock. The case proceeded by way of an agreed statement of facts. The Practitioner accepted his wrongdoing. He and his employer had since undertaken training and had changed lock out procedures. The Board adopted a starting point of a fine of $5,000 which recognised the seriousness of the matter. There were significant mitigating factors. On the basis of those factors the fine was reduced to $1,500. The Practitioner was ordered to pay costs of $250.
Practitioner 2 The Practitioner appeared before the Board in relation to three separate matters. Each involved PEW that was carried out in a manner that was contrary to an enactment and false certification. The Practitioner accepted responsibility for all three matters. The offending was at the lower end of the scale. The Practitioner accepted his wrongdoing and cooperated. The Board ordered that he be fined a total of $550 and that he pay a total of $450 in costs.
Practitioner 3 The Practitioner sleeved an earth conductor as a phase conductor. There was a stated intention to return and install the correctly colour coded conductor but that did not occur. The issue was identified by another electrical worker. The Board decided that the Practitioner had negligently created a risk of serious harm and that he had failed to provide an ESC. The Board adopted a starting point of a $3,000 fine. It took into account that the Practitioner accepted his wrongdoing and that the matter was dealt with on the papers. A fine of $1,500 was imposed. This also took into account other mitigating factors that were present. The Practitioner was also ordered to pay $500 in costs.