EnergyAustralia fined $1.5 million for Yallourn death

Deceased Yallourn worker Graeme Edwards (EnergyAustralia death)
Graeme Edwards

EnergyAustralia has been fined $1.5 million in relation to the death of worker Graeme Edwards at Yallourn Power Station in 2018.

Graeme Edwards, 54, was performing routine maintenance on a circuit breaker at Yallourn Power Station when it exploded, burning 90% of his body. He died a day later in hospital.

Related article: EnergyAustralia pleads guilty to charges over Yallourn death

Investigations found a panel that was supposed to protect workers from contact with the arc flash was not secured properly, and there were inconsistencies in the way staff were trained to carry out the “racking” procedure compared with the staff manual provided.

Also, Edwards was not wearing adequate protective clothing at the time of the accident.

Following the sentencing, EnergyAustralia today expressed its deep regret at the events that led to the tragic death of Graeme Edwards.

Newly appointed EnergyAustralia operations and projects executive Michael Hutchinson, who attended Court along with several senior EnergyAustralia executives, said: “EnergyAustralia offers its deepest sympathies to Graeme’s family, friends and workmates and we acknowledge the impact that Graeme’s death has had.

“Since the events of November 2018, we have put in place a series of additional safety procedures and improvements at the station to ensure there can be no repeat of this tragic incident,” Hutchinson said.   

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“EnergyAustralia has also shared safety improvements with other power station operators to ensure we all learn the lessons of this tragic incident.”

In December 2022, EnergyAustralia pled guilty to three contraventions of s 21(1) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 and at today’s sentencing was ordered to pay a total of $1.5 million in penalties. 

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