Electrician fined after leaving live switchboard in classroom
An electrician contracted to install air-conditioning units at a Sunshine Coast school has been fined for leaving a live switchboard exposed in a classroom.
The contractor had been instructed to cease work in one of the temporary classrooms but ignored the instruction and started live testing on the switchboard inside, leaving the live switchboard unattended for a short period with the escutcheon panel removed and live terminals exposed.
The electrician pleaded guilty to offences under the Electrical Safety Act including failing to conduct his business in a way that was electrically safe and exposing individuals to risk of death or injury. The presiding magistrate noted it was a serious offence as schoolchildren who are “naturally inquisitive” and “unpredictable beings” could easily have been exposed to risk.
The magistrate says he would ordinarily have sentenced the defendant to a $15,000 to $20,000 fine. However, based on the mitigating factors presented and considering the defendant’s very limited income over several years, which the magistrate equated to “minimum wage” earnings, he imposed a fine of $10,000. No conviction was recorded.
Other mitigating factors in the case included an early guilty plea and the fact that this was a first offense. The defendant also voluntarily agreed to undertake a retraining course and further courses mandated by the Electrical Licensing Committee for $1,000, as an expression of genuine remorse.