Electrician fined after dangerous error causes electric shocks

  • Electrician did not follow the correct procedure during a kWh meter replacement
  • Three family members at the property received electric shocks from taps
  • Electricians must comply with safety standards to prevent causing harm

A Perth-based electrical worker has been fined $2,000 for failing to safely carry out work at a Bedford property where three family members received electric shocks after touching energised taps.

On 10 December 2021 at Perth Magistrates Court, the electrician pleaded guilty to breaching WA’s Electricity Network Safety Regulations, following prosecution by Building and Energy. The electrician cannot be named because the court granted a spent conviction.

The court was told that the electrician failed to follow kilowatt-hour (kWh) meter replacement guidelines, which require the power to be switched off or disconnected during the work.

The electrician noted unusual readings while testing the kWh meter. Around the same time, the woman living at the property informed the electrician that her son had received an electric shock while touching a tap. The woman and her daughter also received shocks from taps, but luckily no one was seriously injured.  

An investigation found that the electrician’s work was unsafe because the electricity supply was connected to the installation without a neutral conductor in place. The resulting fault caused the metallic water pipes and appliance casings connected to the earthing system to become energised.

Magistrate Donna Webb described the electrician’s behaviour as “negligent” and said the fault could have caused serious harm, referring to the 2018 electrical accident in Beldon where a young girl was severely injured after touching an energised garden tap.

WA’s Director of Energy Safety, Saj Abdoolakhan, said it was fortunate that serious injury or death did not occur.

“Electricians must work diligently and ensure their work complies with the applicable safety standards and legislation,” he said.

“They have to always keep in mind that if they do get things wrong, it could have serious implications.

“If anyone experiences a shock or tingle from their tap or other metal objects, they must immediately report the incident to the network operator, which for most homes is Western Power or Horizon Power.”

More information is available at the Building and Energy website (via dmirs.wa.gov.au) including an electric shock fact sheet and a list of network operators.


Media contact: BEMedia@dmirs.wa.gov.au

Building and Energy
Media release
14 Feb 2022

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