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$50,000 fine over safety incident

A ​Mulgrave sign installation business was convicted and fined $50,000 over an incident that left a worker with serious burns to his body after he endured an electric shock.

Southern Ultimate Signal Installations Pty Ltd (Southern USI) pleaded guilty at the Heidelberg Magistrates’ Court this week to a charge of failing to supply a safe system of work.

The worker and his colleague were dismantling an advertising sign at Northland Shopping Centre in Preston, when the incident occurred on the 9th November 2010.

A WorkSafe investigation found the business didn’t ensure workers had adequate training when working near powerlines at this special website.

The investigation also found the business might have installed 'fixed trailing' at the site, which may have kept the worker from having the ability to take out the metal rods over his shoulder, hitting the power lines.

The court heard that following the episode, Southern USI undertook a variety of remedial measures, including repairing the metal tracking in the website, providing training in “no go zones” areas because of its workers and mandated using a 'spotter' in all jobs.

Magistrate Anthony Parsons, convicted and ordered the company to pay nearly $ 6000 in legal costs, and fined $ 50,000 to the business.

WorkSafe Construction and Utilities Acting Director, Allan Beacom, expected this case to serve as a reminder of the risks related to working near powerlines.

“Understanding 'no go zones' when working near power lines is crucial and strict procedures should be implemented,” he said.