Safety changes not enough, says union

Flowers left at the scene of the fatal explosion at Morley Galleria Shopping Centre. Picture: Marcus Whisson
Flowers left at the scene of the fatal explosion at Morley Galleria Shopping Centre. Picture: Marcus Whisson

On February 4, a short circuit in the combined-switch fuse caused an explosion in a transformer room at Morley Galleria, which severely burnt four contractors including Alan Cummins, who died instantly at the scene, and Matt Hutchins, who died from burns to 80 per cent of his body later that afternoon.

David Richards and Glenn Smith both received burns to about 50 per cent of their bodies and are unwell but stable at Fiona Stanley Hospital.

Ten days after the explosion, EnergySafety imposed new safety precautions for the type of high voltage (HV) switches involved in the Morley incident.

Director Ken Bowron said the order prohibited work on these HV combined-switch fuse units unless they were completely isolated from the electricity supply.

‘It is unsafe to perform work on any item of electrical equipment while it remains energised, especially high voltage equipment,’ he said.

‘The order will ensure the safety of electrical workers who repair or maintain these high voltage combined-switch fuse units.

‘The order will be sent to all licensed electrical contractors in WA and property owners likely to have these switches on their property.

But Mr McLaughlan said the order should extend to all electrical equipment.

‘We support the EnergySafety order relating to the high voltage equipment involved in this fatality,’ he said.

‘However, we believe EnergySafety should be directing electrical contractors and property owners to not perform electrical work in any live electrical environment.

‘Like all workplace deaths, this incident was avoidable and highlights the need for all employers and their staff to put safety first in every work situation.’