In October 2018, three Auckland workers suffered electric shocks as the result of botched electrical work at a worksite in Henderson.

Thor Electrical and Maintenance Services Limited was sentenced to $77,350 at the Auckland District Court last week for its role in the incident. Earlier this year Kennith Johnson, an electrical inspector, was also fined $15,000 for his role in negligently inspecting the poorly executed electrical work, which could have resulted in fatal injuries to workers. 

Thor Electrical was engaged by a construction company to complete electrical work at a commercial property site. As part of the work, they were asked to install a Builders Temporary Supply (BTS) at the site to allow workers to access mains power. However, the work was not completed correctly as the electrician completing the work had misidentified the phase and neutral conductors, resulting in a transposition. 

Mr Johnson was then engaged to inspect the prescribed electrical work done on the BTS and connect it to electricity, so it could be used on site. Mr Johnson failed to carry out mandatory testing before connecting the BTS to mains power. Mr Johnson also failed to sight a completed Certificate of Compliance before inspecting, connecting, declaring the installation safe to use and leaving the site.

A week later two workers from the construction company on site sustained electric shocks from the BTS. Thor Electrical were contacted as a result and while investigating the issue, one of its workers also suffered an electric shock.

Energy Safety manager Mark Wogan said the job was carried out poorly from start to finish.

“Energy Safety will not tolerate this type of complacency as in the past, New Zealand has recorded deaths as a result of this type of negligence.

“Thor Electrical did not provide safe working procedures for employees to follow, correct equipment or adequate training. Then despite failing to complete mandatory testing or to see a completed Certificate of Compliance, Kennith Johnson connected the BTS to the mains supply.

“A number of negligent behaviours resulted in three workers potentially being exposed to serious harm. The danger of working with electricity is very real and businesses should take this sentencing as a wakeup call.

“You must always ensure work is carried out in a safe manner and in line with Electricity (Safety) Regulations."


Thor Electrical:

  • A fine of $77,350 was imposed.
  • No reparation was ordered.
  • Thor Electrical and Maintenance Services Limited was sentenced under sections 36(1)(a), (2) and 49 under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015.
  • Failing to comply with a duty, so far as reasonably practicable, to ensure the health and safety of workers and of other persons.
  • A fine not exceeding $500,000.

Kennith Johnson:

  • A fine of $15,000 was imposed.
  • Kennith Johnson was sentenced on two charges under section 163D of the Electricity Act 1992.
  • Negligently doing work on an electrical installation.
  • A fine not exceeding $50,000.

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