NSW companies charged after worker suffers electric shock
NT WorkSafe has charged two NSW-based companies (N T Estate Pty Ltd and Springs OpCo Pty Ltd), and a company director, for breaching the Work Health and Safety (National Uniform Legislation) Act 2011 (the Act).
The charges relate to an incident on 5 February 2019, when a 43-year-old worker received a serious electrical shock at an Alice Springs accommodation establishment. The incident left the worker unable to work for a few days.
NT WorkSafe alleges that workers at the now closed establishment had regular practice of accessing the property’s mechanical services switchboard to reset circuit breakers and gas isolators. The mechanical services switchboard, which was more than 30 years old, allegedly had live parts and was extremely hazardous. It is alleged that despite the hazard, the mechanical services switchboard was easy to access, with no efforts made to warn of (via signs) or prevent contact with the live parts. Workers did not receive training or information about how to safely reset the mechanical services switchboard.
As the owner of the property, N T Estate faces one charge under Section 32 of the Act for failing to ensure the mechanical services switchboard was without risks to the health and safety of any person.
As the operator of the accommodation establishment, Springs OpCo faces one charge under Section 32 of the Act, for failing to ensure the health and safety of the worker. Megan Nott, a company director of Springs OpCo, is also facing a charge under Section 32 for failing to exercise due diligence (as per Section 27) in ensuring the company complied with its health and safety duties.
If found guilty, each company will face a maximum penalty of $1.5 million, while Nott faces a maximum penalty of $300,000. The matter is listed for mention in the Alice Springs Local Court on 10 March 2021.
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