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Tragic farm deaths show Victorian Government must step up on electrical safety

Master Electricians Australia has called on the Victorian Government to get tougher on electrical safety, after a Coroner’s finding that the deaths of two farm workers could have been prevented had proper safety equipment been in use.

The Coroner found that the two men were electrocuted after coming into contact with live parts on equipment.  There was no electrical safety switch installed on the electrical circuits or equipment at either location.

The Coroner found that the deaths could both have been prevented had electrical safety switches (also known as residual current devices or RCDs) been installed.

Master Electricians Australia CEO Malcolm Richards welcomed the Coroner’s observations about safety switches, but said it would require strong regulation to achieve the level of protection needed in workplaces and homes.

“It’s one thing for the Coroner to say that there should have been safety switches, and that electrical contractors should encourage their customers to install them,” Mr Richards said.

“The reality is, however, that widespread behavioural change only comes about from changes to government regulation.

“We know that some 15 people are killed in homes across Australia every year in electrical deaths that could be prevented by safety switches, and another 300 are hospitalised due to electrical injuries.

“The Victorian Coroner has long recognised the simple fact that safety switches save lives.  It’s time for the State Government to accept this simple reality and legislation for better protection in workplaces and homes across the state.

“Victoria has very much been left behind some other states – notable Western Australia and Queensland – in implementing mandatory safety switches.  To be fully safe, a building must have a safety switch on every circuit, and Victoria is a long way from achieving that level of protection.”

Mr Richards urged property owners not to put their safety in the hands of the Government, but to ensure safety switches were installed on every circuit of their home or business premises.

“The safety of your family or your workers is too important to leave to the politicians.  Master Electricians urges building owners to act quickly to install safety switches on every circuit, and put an end to preventable deaths.”

Malcolm Richards is available for interview.
Contact The SAS Group on (07) 3221 9222 or 0408 612 603.

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