Powerline fines implemented to keep workers safe
New measures have been introduced in Queensland to keep workers safe around powerlines, after nine serious electrical incidents within the past year.
At the end of June 2017, two on-the-spot fines were implemented to raise awareness of the dangers of powerlines. Queensland workplace health and safety inspectors are now able to issue fines of up to $3000 to businesses who fail to identify the risks and implement appropriate controls.
The Qld State Penalties and Enforcement Regulation 2014 was amended to introduce these infringement notices for breaches of the requirements under the Electrical Safety Regulation 2013.
“Minister for Industrial Relations Grace Grace wrote an open letter to all Queensland employers in October 2016, reminding them of the important ‘look up and live’ message, and sought their urgent assistance in raising awareness about safe exclusion zones,” said Dr Simon Blackwood, head of Workplace Health and Safety Queensland.
“Our current data shows that tree loppers, billboard and signage installers, construction workers and those working on the land are most at risk.”
The Office of Industrial Relations will use these new on-the-spot fines along with other options, such as awareness raising and prosecution, to help ensure the safety of workers around overhead or underground electric lines.
The Electrical Safety Office has worked cooperatively with Energy Queensland to produce industry-specific guidance materials. These guides practically assist employers in developing safe systems of work, educating their workers and contractors and, importantly, keeping workers and any equipment they are using outside the exclusion zone.
A fire at the Solveco Pty Ltd facility in St Marys has led to the company being fined $15,000.
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