Changes to laws will help keep workers safe

Headshot of Michael Philipps
Michael PhilippsSouth Western Times

The father of a Bunbury teenager who was killed in an electrical accident has welcomed new legislation to improve safety for electricians.

However, Greg Zappelli has vowed to continue his push for mandatory RCDs – which cut off power if there is an electrical surge – to be installed in all homes.

Last week the State Government introduced legislation that prohibited electrical work on or near live electrical installations and equipment except for rare circumstances where it was impossible to work without the electrical installation being energised, such as testing.

Another amendment will require the electricity main switch to be turned off before any workers enter the ceiling space of domestic properties.

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Mr Zappelli, whose son Jayden was killed in February 2015, said the new regulations were a step in the right direction, but must be enforced to protect workers.

“It is great that this new law has been brought in, but not everyone abides by the law,” he said.

“As long as people do what they are supposed to do then it will work.

“But the moment they don’t, that is when you get things like what happened to Jayden.”

Mr Zappelli said mandatory RCDs in all homes would further improve safety for workers.

“At the end of the day both changes need to happen,” he said.

“You have to have a law that protects people but when things aren’t done right the RCDs are there to help save lives.

“Having travelled this journey of losing our son, it’s not something I would like to see anyone go through.

“We still battle with it every single day of our lives.”

Commerce and Industrial Relations Minister Bill Johnston said the new regulations came after the death of four WA electrical workers in the past four years.

“Safety is one of the McGowan Government’s key priorities and I’m confident the new rules will significantly improve worker safety,” he said.

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