Electrician could face criminal charges over death

CENTRAL Queensland Coroner David O'Connell has recommended the contracting electrician for the Clermont building site where Jason Garrels was electrocuted be referred to the Queensland Police Service to investigate whether or not criminal charges can be laid in relation to his work conduct.

Mr O'Connell has also recommended, while handing down his inquest findings today, that Jason's employer Daytona Trading Pty Ltd and its owner Gary Labuschewski be referred to the Queensland Building and Construction Commission to "enquire intro their respective conduct at the building site both before and after Mr Garrels death to determine if any offences occurred, and whether Mr Labuschewski is a fit an proper person to hold a builder's contractors licence".

Jason Garrels, 20, died on February 27 in 2012 after he was fatally electrocuted while holding a temporary switchboard while a colleague backfilled trenches.

Power to the temporary switchboard hadn't been isolated and the conduit hadn't been installed properly so it slipped, exposing the wired.

It was also suggested that contracting electrician Nathan Day hadn't installed appropriate safety switches on all the circuits.

Mr Day had initially run temporary power cables along the ground because he didn't know the industry standard was they be buried 600 millimetres below the ground and he was rushing to meet a deadline for a work improvement notice issues by WHS.

During the five day inquest, held at the Mackay court house in March this year, Mr Day gave evidence that he stripped the main switch board of every electrical component except the Ergon meter after Jason's death.

He said it was to make sure the site was electrically safe.

However, the coronial court was given 11 alternative options Mr Day could have done to make the site safe rather than stripping the main board the "quickest, easiest and in fact the most common practice used amongst electricians, is to just 'lock and tag' the isolator switch".

Mr O'Connell said the only "reasonable conclusion" he could draw from the evidence was that Mr Day "deliberately stripped the switchboard with the specific purpose of concealing, interfering, or perhaps more properly, deliberately removing evidence of what electrical componentry was then on that circuit".

"The only logical conclusion for this is that he then well know that there was no RCD (safety switch) on that circuit," Mr O'Connell said.



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