Tuesday, March 1st, 2011
Today, peak Australian electrical industry body, the National Electrical and Communications Association (NECA), supported the Western Australian coroner that found a safety switch would have helped to prevent the electrocution of a two-year-old boy in September 2009.

The boy was tragically electrocuted in a government-owned house at Roebourne in the Pilbara region in Western Australia after he touched a wet extension cord. The State Coroner Alastair Hope released his findings into the incident yesterday.

NECA chief executive officer, Mr James Tinslay, said the electrical industry agreed with the coroner’s findings that this tragedy may have been avoided if a safety switch had been installed.

“NECA fully supports the installation of residual current devices or safety switches as they are commonly known in all homes and businesses throughout Australia because they can prevent electrocutions,” Mr Tinslay said.

“The number of electrocutions is decreasing in Australia because the education is improving but the regulations in some states in Australia need to be bolstered to make the installation of safety switches mandatory in every single dwelling, not just in the new homes that are built.”

A framework exists in Western Australia and Queensland that makes the installation of residual current devices mandatory in all new homes, in homes that have had significant renovations and also at the time of sale or the commencement of a lease.

“The Western Australian and Queensland regulations capture new and older homes to ensure they have a residual current device installed. NECA is working with other state electrical regulators to improve their state-based regulations so it becomes mandatory for the devices to be installed in older homes and not just new constructions,” Mr Tinslay said.

It is unfortunate in this incident that appropriate regulations were in place but the device was not installed. This is an example of why the regulations need to be amended to make the installation of residual current devices compulsory in other states so incidents similar to this do not occur.

“Having it mandated in each state in Australia so the installation of safety switches is compulsory in all homes will help to reduce the number of electrocutions in Australia even further. The Western Australian and Queensland governments have made this sensible decision and it is time the other states followed suit.

“Australian governments have done this for other life saving measures like seatbelts, pool fences and helmets. It is now time they do the same for electrical safety,” Mr Tinslay said.

- ENDS -

NECA CEO Mr James Tinslay is available for interviews.

Contact Profile

Ian Richardson – President

P: 02 9888 3081
W: www.knx.org.au


safety switch residual current device electrical safety coroner Western Australia WA NECA National Electrical and Communications Association



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