Electrician fined over work accident in Cooloongup

Electrician fined over work accident in Cooloongup

AN electrician pleaded guilty to failing to properly supervise an apprentice and then immediately report an electrical accident.

Energy Safe prosecutor Jane Godfrey said John Derek Vickery was employed by APW Electrical at the time when he was in charge of an electrical apprentice as they worked on a home in Cooloongup on September 6, 2013.

She said Vickery was working in a different room from the apprentice when the accident happened.

The victim (who was 17 years old at the time) was doing live work on a surface socket outlet when he received a shock to his face from a live cable.

She said the injury was not serious and that Vickery himself was just two months out of his own apprenticeship, but was still in charge of the apprentice.

“In the past, apprentices have died from not being properly supervised,” she said.

“The maximum penalty is $50,000 for failing to properly supervise.”

She said the apprentice notified Vickery at the time of the accident, but he did not report it to his employer until 10 days after the incident.

Magistrate Stephen Wilson told Vickery it was fortunate that no one was seriously hurt.

“It was a very important supervisory role you had and I appreciate that you were asked to supervise just after you yourself had finished your apprenticeship,” he said.

“These are really serious offences and there needs to be a message sent out to other electricians and the public.”

Vickery was fined $2000 on each charge, reducing each by $1000 to take into account his early guilty plea. He was not granted a spent conviction.

Vickery’s lawyer said he was taught by his employer to isolate and tag lines he worked on.

“He takes issue with the prosecution saying he was doing live work. He said it was isolated and tagged at the meter box; a 1.5m line was what he tagged.

“It was a 2.5m line for a power circuit that the apprentice grabbed and received the shock from. He had done lots of similar work by himself with his employer working on another house up the street, so he thought the apprentice would be OK in the next room.

“When he found out, he said ‘Come on, let’s get you to hospital and report it’ but the apprentice insisted he was fine and he didn’t want his mother to know.

“Then an issue came up with the employer and the apprentice and that was when it was reported.

“Because of this incident, Vickery lost his job,” he said.

The lawyer said Vickery departed amicably, with APW providing a statement that he was an upstanding citizen and the incident was just a discrepancy.

However, Magistrate Wilson said “it is a bit more than a discrepancy”.