Sparky pleads guilty over worker’s death
AN electrical contractor has been jailed over the tragic death of a young tradesman who was electrocuted on a Queensland building site rife with blatant safety breaches.
Electrician Nathan Brian Day, now 31, had been warned by Workplace Health and Safety officers to fix a number of potentially fatal electrical safety issues on a building site at Clermont, about 270km west of Mackay, in 2012.
On the same morning the site was due to be shut down by safety officers if the issues weren't rectified, 20-year-old trade's assistant Jason Garrels, who was just nine days into the job, was killed when his boss failed to turn off the power to the sub-board he was helping to install.
Prosecutor Todd Fuller said Day had failed on a number of fronts to protect his workers by not installing a safety switch at the site, not properly installing fuses, using sub-boards missing vital PVC protection components and failing to turn the power off.
"If any of those things had (been addressed) the death would have been avoided," Mr Fuller said.
Desperate attempts were made to revive the young man who was pronounced dead in front of his devastated parents in hospital.
Mr Fuller said Day had tried to cover up his role in the young man's death, immediately stripping the site's switchboard and later calling a fellow worker to discuss shifting the blame to Mr Garrels.
"He immediately made steps into a mode of covering up what has occurred," Mr Fuller said.
"He did not have the competency or experience to do a project of that size."
Day pleaded guilty in the Brisbane Supreme Court to one charge of manslaughter and another of perjury which relates to him lying about the safety steps he took at the worksite during an inquest into Mr Garrels' death.
Justice Helen Bowskill said while she accepted Day was remorseful for his actions, that was tempered by his attempts to cover up his role in the death.
Justice Bowskill said it was clear "the grief is profound" for Mr Garrels' family who read out emotional victim impact statements in court.
"That death was a direct result of your failings," she said
"Had the fuses been operative or the safety switch installed, the current would have been stopped almost instantaneously preventing this death.
"You made a choice to take on work that you were plainly not competent or sufficiently skilled to do ... placing numerous people at risk."
She said Day had called another worker the day after the death suggesting the pair tell investigators Mr Garrels "had taken it upon himself to assist" in a bid to shift the blame to the young man.
Justice Bowskill sentenced Day to seven years in jail for the manslaughter offence and two years for perjury, both to be served concurrently.
He will be eligible for parole on March 9, 2020.