Demolition company fined $25K for live power incident in 2015

A demolition company was convicted and fined over a live power incident in 2015.

The company pleaded guilty in the Korumburra Magistrates Court last week to a charge of failing to provide and maintain safe systems of work and was fined $ 25,000. It was also ordered to pay costs of $ 5221.

The incident happened in February 2015. The company used an excavator to demolish a house at Cowes. The worker operating the excavator was not licenced to use the machine so he was supervised by the owner of the business and spotted by other workers.

The worker used the excavator bucket to pull down guttering at the front of the house, but it struck overhead power lines. The worker heard a loud bang and saw a blue flash so he immediately shut down the machine and headed out. He was not injured in the incident.

The investigation found that the company failed to prepare a Safe Work Method Statement for demolition before the work commenced, as well as failed to ensure the work was performed in accordance with the statement and failed to obtain a permit for the work.

“Demolition work is considered high risk and appropriate safe systems are required for a reason,” said WorkSafe Executive Director Health and Safety Marnie Williams.

“It is a tragic reality that when a demolition goes wrong the consequences for workers or the public, such as crush injuries, falling objects, and exposure to hazardous substances can be serious or even fatal,” she said.

“This incident could easily have been a fatality, with a family left to mourn someone who didn’t get home safely.

“If you are running a business in Victoria, you have responsibilities for the safety of your workers and members of the public. We will not tolerate businesses who are putting people’s lives in danger.”

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