Garrels inquest wraps up, electrician could face charges
A CONTRACTING electrician could face criminal charges over the electrocution death of Jason Garrels at a Clermont building site.
The 20-year-old had been holding a temporary switchboard while a colleague backfilled trenches when he received the fatal shock on February 27 in 2012.
Jason had been hired by Daytona Trading Pty Ltd as a builder's labourer at a residential development on MacDonald Flat Rd involving 81 buildings.
Daytona was the principal builder and director Gary Labuschewski subcontracted the electrical work to his distant brother-in-law Cold Spark director Nathan Day.
Yesterday Central Queensland Coroner David O'Connell, in handing down his findings in the Coronial Court, recommended Mr Day be referred to the Queensland Police Service to investigate whether there is enough evidence to charge him under the Criminal Code.
Evidence given during a five-day inquest into Jason's death suggested contracting electrician Nathan Day took short cuts in his work. After Jason was electrocuted, Mr Day stripped the main switchboard of all the components except the Ergon meter. He said it was to make the site electrically safe.
Mr O'Connell found the only explanation for his actions was to conceal the fact there wasn't a safety switch installed on the circuit.
The Coroner has recommended the Director of Public Prosecutions investigate whether Mr Day can be charged with perjury over his evidence relating to the safety switch.
It was also recommended the Office of Fair and Safe Work Queensland investigates whether any new charge
can be laid against Mr Day for the construction wiring and stripping the main switchboard.
Daytona Trading and Mr Labuschewski have been referred to the Queensland Building and Construction Commission to determine whether or not he's fit to hold a building contractor's licence, the Coronial Court was told.
"I am firmly of the opinion that Mr Day's lack of experience, and knowledge, in relation to the wiring requirements of the subdivision led to the incident occurring," Mr O'Connell said.
"I was amazed to find that a licensed electrician whose own admitted experience related to 'fixing fans and domestic white goods, and cold rooms', could simple apply for an electrical contractor's licence, which allowed him to be the responsible electrician for the wiring of an 81-lot duplex subdivision."
Mr O'Connell said this demonstrated a failure of the licensing system and recommended there be a review of the licensing process. "Clearly the government should examine, and review, the qualifications required to be obtained to allow persons to be the holder of an electrical contractor's licence," he said.
Daytona Trading and Cold Spark were previously prosecuted in the Industrial Magistrates Court for failing to discharge an electrical safety obligation.