Sparkies stop work after Lend Lease lock-cutting claim
A dangerous safety breach has seen more than 40 electricians stop work at a Sydney construction site.
One electrician was nearly electrocuted as a result of the actions of construction workers, reports say.
It is being alleged that after an electrician had “locked out” a switchboard (turning off the circuit while electrical work was underway), a Lend Lease foreman ordered a worker to cut the padlock off the box with an angle grinder and restore power.
The next day, an electrical worker was almost killed as he was about to recommence work on what he believed was a de-energised circuit.
The Electrical Trades Union (ETU) said the incident was a clear breach of basic safety precautions, and all employees of major contractors Stowe Australia and Fredon have voted to halt work on the site.
The site’s safety committee has no confidence in the ability of builder Lend Lease to provide a safe workplace.
“It is an industry standard that electricians use special padlocks to ‘lock out’ switch boards and other electrical equipment, preventing power from being restored to circuits that are currently being worked on,” ETU secretary Steve Butler said.
“These large padlocks include a written warning explaining that the circuit is locked out, with only the electrician that installed the lock authorised to remove it, for obvious safety reasons.
“It is extremely concerning that a Lend Lease foreman would deliberately breach this procedure by ordering a worker to cut the lock off and restore power, with no warning to electricians that this had taken place.”
He said it had taken almost a week for Lend Lease to report the incident to safety regulator WorkCover NSW.
Lend Lease issued a statement saying WorkCover has found it to be a non-reportable incident and that they will not be investigating it.