Wellington Electricity Lines Limited

Court Summary - at a glance

Date of offence:
27 May 2014
 
Plea:
Guilty
 
Decision:
Convicted
 
Final decision date:
 
Fine imposed:
$26,000

Safety lessons learned:
  1. The hazard assessment, prior to the work being undertaken, was not documented in a single document.
  2. The work at the Old Karori Road substation should have been undertaken with the substation de-energised.
  3. The Work Plan should have included instructions:
    1. That the Work Plan should not be undertaken if there was a variation in the layout of the substation; and
    2. That if there was any reason why the steps in the Work Plan could not be followed, the work should stop.
  4. The defendant should have identified site specific risks to Northpower.

Defendant name:
Wellington Electricity Lines Limited
 
Industry:
Energy, Water services
 
Date of offence:
27 May 2014
 
Facts in brief:
The defendant contracted Northpower Limited to carry out maintenance and fault restoration on its electrical network.

On 27 May 2014, a Northpower trainee was the victim of an arc flash event caused during the decommissioning of bias panel equipment at a berm substation. The decommissioning work was conducted adjacent to live components. The victim supported the bias-panel transformer while another worker unbolted it. As the victim moved the transformer a support bracket behind it became dislodged and fell into the live 400V terminal connections. This resulted in an arc flash; a short circuit which releases an uncontrolled burst of energy.

The victim was seriously harmed, sustaining deep burns to the thigh and superficial burns to the face, buttocks and upper legs.
 
Related prosecutions:
 
Offence section:
Section 163D(1)(a) of the Electricity Act 1992
 
Date charged:

Court:
Wellington - District Court
 
Plea:
Guilty
 
Final decision date:
 
Decision:
Convicted
 
Fine imposed:
$26,000
 
Maximum fine available:
$250,000
 
Reparation:
$4,030