Bunbury company JCW Electrical fined after employee Jayden Zappelli’s death

Jayden Zappelli. Photo: Facebook. The Bunbury electrical company responsible for the death of an 18-year-old trade assistant in February 2013 was fined $38,000 in the Bunbury Magistrates Court on Friday.
Wuxi Plastic Surgery

Jayden Zappelli had been on track to start an electrical apprenticeship when he was fatally electrocuted while working in a Bunbury roof.

Last month his employer JCW Electrical pleaded guilty to failing to provide and maintain a working environment in which employees were not exposed to hazards.

A fellow employee Dale Francis Mortley pleaded guilty tocausing the death of a person by failing to avoid a situation which adversely affected the safety or health of any person.

In sentencing Magistrates Dianne Scaddan said the men were working on an older property at the time of Mr Zappelli’s death.

“Assumptions made about the home led to the fatality,” she said.

“Isolating the mains power before entering the roof instead of the single circuit that was being worked on was a simple step which would have reduced the risk to the employees.

“JCW Electrical failed to provide a work environment where employees were safe by not ensuring employees turned off the mains power before entering a roof space.

“This appears to be a case where JCW Electrical was not intentionally risky but complacent to follow an industry standard practice which has been identified as not-sufficient.”

Magistrate Scaddan said the small, family-run company had shown remorse.

JCW Electrical was fined $50,000 which was reduced to $38,000 with an early plea of guilt and a previous good record.

“The value of the deceased’s life is not measured by this fine and thereis no doubt it has had a profound effect on family and friends,” Magistrate Scaddan said.

“This fine should ensure that employers are encouraged to ensure a safer workplace for employees.

“Employees in the electricity field must understand the dire consequences of not acting safely.”

When sentencing Mr Mortley, Magistrate Scaddan said Mr Mortley had been “careless”.

“I know if Mr Mortley could take back the events of the day he would,” she said.

“He has expressed a genuine remorse and since the incident he has been deemed as a competent electrician by Energy Safety WA.”

Mr Mortley’s fine of $9000 was given the same reductions as those granted to JCW Electrical – reducing it to $6,800.

His application for a spent conviction was denied with Magistrate Scaddan siting the fact that the seriousness of the conviction and the overwhelming public interest in knowing what occurred outweighed the damage the conviction may cause Mr Mortley’s future employment prospects.

WorkSafe WA Commissioner Lex McCulloch said the case was a stark reminder of the dangers of working with electricity.

“This tragic incident should serve as a reminder of the extreme importance of checking and re-checking that the circuits being worked on are indeed not live,” Mr McCulloch said.

“When working with or around electrical circuits, any assumption could be a fatal one.

“The case also sends a clear message to employers that electrical work should not under any circumstances be performed by assistants or anyone not qualified to undertake the work safely.”

The maximum penalty that could have been handed to the JCW Electrical was $200,000 and $20,000 for Mr Mortley.

Mr Zappelli’s family declined to speak to the media outside the court.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Wuxi Plastic Surgery Hospital.

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