Contractors queried over Jason’s electrocution

Jason Garrels, 20, died after being electrocuted while working on a building site in Clermont in February 2012.
Jason Garrels, 20, died after being electrocuted while working on a building site in Clermont in February 2012. Contributed

A YOUNG man who was electrocuted at a building site told his Gympie mother he'd received a shock at work days before his death.

A Coronial Inquest into Jason's 2012 death yesterday heard the 20-year-old said he told his "big boss" about the incident.

However Daytona Trading director Gary Labuschewski, Jason's employer, yesterday said he had "no recollection" of Jason telling him about it.

Mr Labuschewski, who said he had about 35 years in the building industry, was the principal builder for the large residential development in Clermont, 274km south-west of Mackay, consisting of 81 buildings. He had subcontracted the electrical work to his "distant" brother-in-law Nathan Day, who was the director of Cold Spark Pty Ltd.

Despite being questioned about Mr Day's lack of experience working on a building site or taking on a project this large, Mr Labuschewski repeatedly described him as a "qualified electrician".

The court was told Mr Day received his orders about what areas of the development needed power from Mr Labuschewski.

Construction wires were lying on the ground and ran from the main switchboard to 10 temporary switchboards around the site, which Mr Labuschewski said he was aware of.

"Didn't your 30-odd years of experience suggest... that having cabling lying on the ground on a building site wasn't safe?" barrister Andrew Herbert, for Workplace Health and Safety, asked.

Mr Labuschewski said he deemed it to be "similar to electrical leads" before admitting "I guess it wasn't safe".

The court was told the industry standard for temporary wires was that they be buried 500mm in the ground. Mr Labuschewski said Mr Day told him there was "no standard" when it came to temporary wires and said he took his word for it.

Mr Day had been required by WHS inspectors to bury the cabling.

Jason had been moving a temporary switchboard while another co-worker backfilled the trenches when he was electrocuted.


Work site deemed 'disgusting'

CONTRACTORS described the level of safety at the Clermont building site where Jason Garrels was electrocuted as "poor and disgusting".

Daytona Trading was the principal builder for the residential development on MacDonald Flat Rd where the 20-year-old died in February, 2012.

When the company's director Gary Labuschewski was asked yesterday during a coronial inquest into Jason's death specifically about safety on site, he said he couldn't comment.

Mr Labuschewski also told the court he had not informed the building industry regulator, the Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC and formerly the BSA), about the electrocution.

Asked why he hadn't brought Jason Garrels' death to the QBCC'S attention after the incident occurred, Mr Labuschewski responded with, "I've got no answer to that."

Gympie Times

Topics:  coronial inquest jason garrels

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