Electrician fined after home owner receives electric shocks – Nicola Terrigno

  • Supervising electrician did not check apprentice’s wiring work
  • Transposed conductors caused earthed metal objects to become live
  • Potential for serious or even fatal injuries

A Bridgetown home owner was lucky to avoid serious injury after receiving multiple electric shocks from a dangerous wiring error that a Manjimup electrician failed to detect.

Licensed electrical worker Nicola Terrigno (EW140723) of NTE Contracting Pty Ltd (EC008914), trading as NT Electrics, was fined $5,000 at Manjimup Magistrates Court after pleading guilty to breaching WA’s electricity licensing regulations.

Information presented in court by Building and Energy showed Mr Terrigno and an electrical apprentice under his supervision attended the property in February 2022 to replace a private power pole.

The work included connecting overhead sub-mains cables to the house from a mains connection box on the new pole. The apprentice carried out the wiring work in the mains connection box.

Two days later, the property owner contacted Western Power to report receiving electric shocks from the oven and shower. An inspection by Western Power revealed the active and neutral conductors were transposed at the mains connection box, causing earthed metal components in the house to become live with electricity.

Mr Terrigno was found to have breached WA’s Electricity (Licensing) Regulations 1991 by not visually inspecting the electrical installation work to verify its compliance with wiring rules.

As the supervising electrical worker, Mr Terrigno was responsible for inspecting the apprentice’s wiring. The court was told a visual check would have clearly identified the transposed active and neutral conductors.

On 26 October 2023, Magistrate Michelle Harries ordered Mr Terrigno to pay costs of $537.15 in addition to the fine.

Her Honour noted Mr Terrigno’s early guilty plea, remorse and lack of prior misconduct, but emphasised the seriousness of the offence, which had potentially life-threatening consequences.

WA’s Director of Energy Safety, Saj Abdoolakhan, said the property owner was incredibly fortunate to have avoided a serious or even fatal injury.

“A simple visual check of the work would have immediately revealed the wiring error instead of putting someone’s life at risk,” Mr Abdoolakhan said.

“This case is a clear example of why checks and tests of all electrical installing work are mandatory. There is no place for complacency when the stakes are so high.

“It is also a timely reminder to electrical contractors and supervising electrical workers about their responsibilities for apprentices.

“I commend the home owner for taking the appropriate action of promptly contacting the network operator, Western Power, after experiencing an electric shock.”

See the Building and Energy website (dmirs.wa.gov.au/building-and-energy) for more information on shock and tingles, private power poles and electrical apprentices.


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

Building and Energy
Media release
08 Nov 2023

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