Fine after NT worker electrocuted

·2-min read

A Northern Territory company director has been fined after an unsupervised apprentice electrician was electrocuted on the job.

The 34-year-old fourth-year apprentice died while working with another apprentice on the roof of the Tennant Creek Fire Station in February 2019.

Electrical services company Dexter Barnes Electrical and its director Russell O'Donnell pleaded guilty in December to charges relating to the death.

They were handed a combined penalty of more than $160,000 in the Alice Springs Local Court on Thursday.

The firm was convicted and fined $80,000 for failing to comply with its health and safety duties and O'Donnell was convicted and fined $40,000.

He was also ordered to complete hazard identification and management training.

The court also ordered the company to provide $40,000 to NT WorkSafe as an enforceable undertaking to develop an electrical safety campaign.

It's the first time NT courts have imposed a written agreement that will be reviewed as part of a sentence.

"Apprentices and young workers are among the most vulnerable workers in the workplace," NT Work Health and Safety Regulator Bill Esteves said on Friday.

"It's important they receive the appropriate level of supervision and training, especially in high-risk industries such as electrical services."

He said the incident could have been avoided if the company had implemented its safety management system, and had properly trained and supervised the apprentice.

"NT WorkSafe Inspectors are encountering increasing instances of businesses with a safety management system that has not been implemented," Mr Esteves said.

They are also finding businesses that have purchased off-the-shelf systems which do not address risk and hazards faced by the business and its workers, he said.

"Company directors should not think that they have met their work health and safety duties because they have purchased a system," he said.