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Thread: Contractors on site

  1. #1
    Platinum Member
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    Contractors on site

    I have a question for all you bright sparks, if you are working on a job site and there is more than 1 electrical contractor on site and someone is electricuted.

    Here is the scenerio, i was working on a job site a while back and there were about 4 different electrical contractors including a electrical maintenance team, all on the same job site at the same time. My task is to install and connect the A/C units power supplies. Simple job, a couple meters of surfix and a couple of weather proof isolators. I get to the DB and find a piece of tape over one of the circuit breakers which is turned off, general practice of electricans working on a job site (not saying its right, just common practise) So i isolate the DB and pull my cables into the DB, fit my circuit breakers and connect everything. Here the catch, the DB cover is on the floor and i have switched off all the circuit breakers. When i am finished i start powering everything up by switching on each circuit breaker. Yip and you know already where i am going with this, a similar situation happened at new airport.

    My question is who would be held responsible for one of the labourers being electricuted, who shouldnt really be working on the plug circuits to begin, especially without the correct supervision. Nobody was injured because i knew they were working on the plugs, and knew they hadnt isolated the circuit with the correct isolating proceedures or equipment, because i saw them as i was running the cables thru the roof, but lets say i hadnt seen them and switched on, the tape over the circuit breaker was now on the cover, on the floor next to the DB, lets say one of my staff didnt see the tape when i removed the DB cover and switched on all the circuit breakers, would i be held responsible, because i am a registered master electrician, with many years experience and should have known better like i am always told when the kak hits the fan and some else has done something wrong and i had my blinkers on, finished up what i was doing and walked away?

    I know what the answer should be, i would like to hear what what you think and how many times has this happened to you?

  2. #2
    Diamond Member AndyD's Avatar
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    Cape Town
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    What you describe isall too typical, even on larger installations where there's a H&S setup you still see the wild west when it comes to safe isolation and lockouts etc. Usually as long as you have a hard hat and a high-vis vest the H&S don't care what you do as far as safe working practices.

    If we're on site for any length of time we usually introduce a lock-out system with the other contractors and we even supply padlocks and lockout clasps for them on the understanding they pay if they lose the locks or keys. It's a lot easier nowadays because we all have our cellphone numbers on our lockouts and it's easy to double check using phones. Most of the quick in-out jobs we do on sites we have our own local point of isolation and lock out so we don't usually need to lock out main distribution etc

    As far as responsibility for death goes, it's everybodies responsibility to ensure their own safety on site. But as with most things blame or reponsibility never falls squarely in a single place so you could expect to be dragged through the wringer as well if you were on site at the time of death.
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