Worker lucky to survive electrical shock
18 February 2011
An employee is lucky to be alive after coming into contact with an 11,000 volt street power line near the front of the property he was working at.
Otago Continuous Spouting (2007) Ltd and its contractor Richard Geoffrey Williams were yesterday sentenced for their roles leading to the accident, which happened in Palmerston on 10 February last year.
Otago Continuous Spouting and Mr Williams were fined $36,000 and $5,000 and ordered to pay reparations of $15,650 and $10,650 respectively.
The Dunedin District Court heard that an employee of Otago Continuous Spouting was working with Mr Williams when the metal spouting they were removing came into contact with the power lines.
“This accident could easily have been prevented,” says Department of Labour Dunedin Service Manager Mark Murray.
“Had there been proper hazard controls and good communication with the employee about the specific power line hazard this accident would probably never have happened.”
“While the contractor had identified the power lines as a potential hazard, he didn’t tell the employee about the risks or talk to him about a safe way of removing the spouting.”
“Proper hazard management is an integral part of the planning for every job. All workplaces should have a system in place for identifying potential hazards and making sure that employees and contractors are aware of the hazards. Action should be taken to eliminate, isolate or minimise these hazards,” Mr Murray says.
Note to Editor
- OCS was prosecuted under Section 6 and Mr Williams was prosecuted under Section 17 of the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992.
- Section 6 of the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 states: Every employer shall take all practicable steps to ensure the safety of employees while at work; and in particular shall take all practicable steps to—
- provide and maintain for employees a safe working environment; and
- provide and maintain for employees while they are at work facilities for their safety and health; and
- ensure that plant used by any employee at work is so arranged, designed, made, and maintained that it is safe for the employee to use; and
- ensure that while at work employees are not exposed to hazards arising out of the arrangement, disposal, manipulation, organisation, processing, storage, transport, working, or use of things—
- in their place of work; or
- near their place of work and under the employer's control; and
- develop procedures for dealing with emergencies that may arise while employees are at work.
- Section 17 of the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 states: Every self-employed person shall take all practicable steps to ensure that no action or inaction of the self-employed person while at work harms the self-employed person or any other person.
- The Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 is available online