Safety alert 08/2009 - Cleaning supervisor electrocuted

Information status

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This publication is for: 
Employee / workerEmployer

A cleaning supervisor died of an electric shock from a commercial dishwasher in the dish washing room of a food hall.  Before the incident, the dishwashing machine was not washing the dishes properly.  An appliance repairer had been contacted to repair the machine.  While waiting for the appliance repairer, the cleaning supervisor made an attempt to repair the dishwasher.  The cleaning supervisor was not qualified to carry out electrical work.

The cleaning supervisor received a fatal electric shock from the dishwashing machine.  The front panel of the machine had been opened and the active and neutral conductors were removed from a solenoid valve.  The dishwashing machine was plugged into a live 3 phase power outlet.  The circuit supplying the power outlet was not protected by a residual current device.

Factors to consider

  • A cleaning supervisor received a fatal electric shock from a commercial dishwasher.
  • The cleaning supervisor was not qualified to carry out electrical repairs.
  • The dishwasher was plugged into a live 3 phase power outlet.
  • The faulty dishwasher had not been isolated, locked out and tagged out.
  • The circuit supplying the power outlet was not protected by a residual current device.

Recommendations

  • Never attempt to repair a faulty appliance, unless suitably qualified.
  • Faulty appliances to be checked and repaired by a suitably qualified repairer or licensed electrician only.
  • Faulty equipment to be isolated, locked out and tagged out before a suitably qualified repair person commences work on the equipment.
  • Where practicable, residual current devices should be fitted in areas such as kitchens and dishwashing areas.

Further information

Further information can be obtained from WorkSafe’s website or by contacting customer service on 1300 307 877 or email safety@dmirs.wa.gov.au

This Alert contains safety information following inquires made by WorkSafe about an incident or unsafe practice. The information contained in this Alert does not necessarily include the outcome of WorkSafe’s action with respect to an incident.  WorkSafe does not warrant the information in this Alert is complete or up to date and does not accept any liability to any person for the information in this report or as to its use.

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Last updated 29 Jun 2017

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