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The State Government energy safety regulator is warning electricians not to cut corners when checking their work after a Padbury building site was left unprotected against electrical hazards for several days.
Following prosecutions by Building and Energy, fines totalling $20,000 were handed down to the company involved and the employee who failed to install a key safety component and carry out mandatory tests.
At Joondalup Magistrates Court on 7 January 2022, Yangebup electrical contractor Romiss Pty Ltd (EC847), trading as Fair Price Electrical Services, pleaded guilty to breaching WA’s electricity licensing laws.
The court was told that in October 2019, an electrical worker employed by Romiss Pty Ltd was tasked with wiring and installing a pole-mounted switchboard with socket outlets for a temporary power supply to be used by builders at the site.
The company submitted an official notice that described the electrical work carried out and declared that it had been checked and tested for compliance with WA’s Wiring Rules.
However, an inspector who checked the installation nine days later discovered that a key component of the protection system – the multiple earthed neutral (MEN) connection – had not been installed. The error would have been detected if the required checks and tests had been carried out properly.
Without an MEN, protective devices such as circuit breakers and fuses may not operate if an electrical fault occurs, which can cause metal objects to become live with lethal voltage levels.
Romiss Pty Ltd was fined $15,000 for submitting an inaccurate notice for the work and ordered to pay $737 in costs.
In November 2021, also at Joondalup Magistrates Court, the electrical worker was fined $5,000 for carrying out the non-compliant work and ordered to pay costs of $318. The electrician is not named because a spent conviction was granted.
WA’s Director of Energy Safety, Saj Abdoolakhan, said the consequences could have been devastating if a fault had occurred while there was inadequate protection against electrocution.
“By law, electricians are required to undertake their own testing and verifications when they work on electrical installations. Had the electrician done his due diligence, he would have easily identified this serious defect,” Mr Abdoolakhan said.
“The company then falsely declared that the electrical work was checked, tested and complied with the regulations, when it obviously did not.
“There is simply no excuse for cutting corners with any area of electrical work when people’s lives are at risk.”
Media contact: BEmedia@dmirs.wa.gov.au