Yallourn power station worker, Graeme Edwards 54, died because of injuries sustained at Yallourn Power station. The plant's owner, Energy Australia, pleaded guilty in the County Court last Wednesday, to three charges of failing to provide a safe working environment.
Graeme died when he was badly burnt in an electrical short circuit while performing routine maintenance at the plant in November 2018.
An investigation by Energy Australia subsequently cleared Mr Edwards of any responsibility for what happened. On the two-year anniversary of his death, WorkSafe announced it had investigated and decided not to lay charges.
Graeme’s family said in a statement at the time they could not comprehend WorkSafe's decision not to prosecute what was an ‘easily avoidable workplace incident’, adding it was ‘outrageous and entirely unacceptable’.
The CFMMEU subsequently asked the DPP to review WorkSafe's decision. The regulator subsequently reversed its decision.
An internal company investigation found Mr Edwards had done his job exactly as he had been trained and the source of high voltage power was not adequately barricaded to protect workers from being injured.
Energy Australia Manager of health, safety, security and environment, Chan Sinnadurai said the barrier between the high voltage electricity and Mr Edwards was movable and not fixed in place.
‘There were two key findings. The first one was that Graeme did his job and did it in a professional manner, the second finding was that the barrier in place to prevent access to the circuit breaker was inadequate and allowed for inadvertent contact with the live component."
Source: ABC News online 14 June 2019
The CFMEU subsequently issued a statement saying it was a relieved ‘WorkSafe’s initial decision last year not to lay charges had been reversed.’
‘Graeme’s family, his workmates at Yallourn and across the Victorian power industry were devastated by his death. Energy Australia has admitted the tragedy was due to safety failures at the plant and in no way due to unsafe work practices by Graeme, who was an experienced, committed, model employee.’
Vale Graeme Edwards.
We mourn the dead, and fight like hell for the living.