Galleria tragedy highlights the need for national audit

Etu National

The Electrical Trades Union (#ETUAus) has called for a national audit of all high voltage oil-insulated combined-fuse switches, following the recent explosion at Western Australia’s Galleria shopping centre.

The incident resulted in the death of two electrical workers and left another two workers in hospital with serious injuries.

#ETUAus National President Les McLaughlan said the equipment involved in the explosion had been involved in three similar incidents in the United Kingdom.

“The high voltage oil-insulated equipment involved in these fatalities has a history of destructive failure, and we are worried that it is only a matter of time until there’s another explosion,” Mr McLaughlan said.

“There are potentially thousands of these units around the country, and we have no idea where they are, or what condition they are in.

“We have seen the tragic consequences of this equipment not being handled correctly, and our union is determined to ensure no more electrical workers, or members of the community, are hurt.

“We call upon energy safety regulators in each Australian state and territory to work together to identify the location of each piece of this equipment, and examine maintenance records to ensure that the equipment is in good working order.

“We further call upon each state and territory regulator to ensure that electrical contractors are instructed not to perform work on this or any other piece of electrical equipment while it remains energised.

“There is nothing more important to our union than ensuring that every worker who goes to work returns home safely at the end of their shift. Like all workplace deaths, the incident in WA was avoidable and highlights the need for all employers and their staff to put safety first in every work situation.” 

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