13th August 2013
Residential Roofing was contracted to replace roof sheeting at a residential property and employed three workers to complete the work.No arrangements were made to cut power to the dwelling, despite electrical cables running on top of the roof.
Worker one and worker two were on the roof laying and screwing metal roofing sheets down, while worker three was on the ground passing the roofing sheets up. Worker one fixed a metal roofing sheet in place using a 65 millimetre steel screw, which penetrated the live conductor of the mains cable. The screw acted as an electrical bridge to the metal roof making it live (energised).
The workers did not realise the roof was energised and began climbing down the ladder. As worker two was climbing down (worker one was still on the roof) he noticed a wallet in the gutter and reached in to grab it. He made contact with the gutter and received a serious electric shock. Worker one reacted by grabbing worker two, and the ladder, in an attempt to push the ladder away from the roof. He also received an electric shock and fell to the ground. The ladder, and worker two, fell to the ground. Worker three saw the events and ran over to the switchboard to turn the power off (this would not have ceased the electricity supply through the mains cable energising the roof).
Worker two was unconscious on the ground and not breathing when worker three went to his aid and commenced resuscitation. Worker one (who fell off the roof) was conscious and breathing and assisted with the resuscitation. Worker two was revived and transported to Princess Alexandra Hospital. Worker one was transported to Ipswich Hospital.
Worker one sustained an electric shock but no injury. He was released from hospital following tests and observation.
Worker two had CPR administered at the incident for six minutes until Queensland Ambulance Service attended and provided defibrillation. He sustained a cardiac arrest, was intubated at site and then admitted to the intensive care unit at the Princess Alexandra Hospital for 24 hours of active cooling, a procedure in which cool fluids are intravenously administered in an attempt to protect the heart following electric shock. He fractured five ribs, suffered a serious laceration to his hand and sustained a collapsed lung.
The defendant had no prior convictions, did not cooperate fully with the investigation and did not appear at the sentence which proceeded ex parte. The defendant did fax the court information concerning its financial status, outlining it had run at a loss.
Court: Ipswich Magistrates Court
Category: Failed to ensure that the defendant business was conducted in a way that was electrically safe under s27 of the duty under s 30(2) Electrical Safety Act 2002