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Electrician Accused of Tampering Switchboard after Worker’s Death

Posted by Robert O'Neill on Apr 1, 2015 2:44:00 AM
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Electrician Accused of Tampering Switchboard after Worker’s DeathAn electrician is now facing charges for deliberately tampering with the building site’s main switchboard immediately after a young man died due to electrocution.

On February 27 in 2012, Jason Garrels died when unfortunately he was at the receiving end of a fatal shock that came while moving a temporary switchboard.

It was reported that one of Garrels’s colleagues at work saw sparks beneath the switchboard, just about the belt level of Garrels. Twenty-year-old Jason held the switchboard for around three seconds before he finally lost his grip and staggered.

Cold Spark Pty Ltd Director Nathan Day was employed as a contracting electrician for a residential development project that was to help put up eighty buildings plus a manager's residence in Clemont’s MacDonald Flat Rd.

The coronial inquest about Jason Garrels’s death discovered that Mr. Nathan Day has not worked at any building site before. Mr. Day was hired by his distant brother-in-law, the director of Daytona Trading Pty Ltd Gary Labuschewski, the principal builder employed by the developer SCN to oversee the completion of the project. The court was made aware that the civil electrical work has yet to be completed so Mr. Day was tasked to power the site.

Director Colin Street of SCN Pty Ltd made the court aware that his electrical responsibility with regard the project site ended when Ergon Energy successfully installed a power pole at the development site. And Mr. Day was in charge of running all the cabling from the power pole connected to a main switchboard and all the way to ten other temporary switchboards located across the project site.

On the day Mr. Gassels died, Mr. Day told the court that he immediately isolated the main switchboard and had removed all the switches. When asked why he did not preserve the site after a significant electrical incident, Mr. Day admitted he was too emotional to have properly assessed what he should have rightly done.

Workplace Health and Safety Attorney Andrew Herbert opinioned that Mr. Day may have removed the switches to hide the evidence that there was no safety switch connected to the circuit’s upstream current that eventually resulted in Jason’s death. He added that on the day Jason died, Mr. Day realised late that the upstream side of the temporary switchboard was not connected to a safety switch for protection—but Mr. Day likewise denied this.

In a report submitted to the Electrical Licensing Committee, Nathan Day previously made a statement that he had removed the safety switch from the main switchboard and had it connected with the distribution board that was located in the same switchboard where Jason was electrocuted. He further admitted to have left the upstream circuit open and unprotected.

When asked why he did not have the circuit paralleled as it should be, he admitted to have had a trying day and blamed some miscommunication for that tragic day. The Workplace Health and Safety attorney suggested that Mr. Day may have removed some items from the main switchboard and have those placed in a box so the investigating group would take his work about having a safety switch.

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