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Unsafe working conditions prior to Jason Garrels death

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

Jason Garrels, 20, had said he had told his "big boss" about the incident, a Coronial inquest was told.

However, Daytona Trading director Gary Labuschewski, Jason's employer, yesterday said he had "no recollection" of the 20-year-old telling him about this.

 

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Mr Labuschewski, who said he had about 35 years in the building industry, was the principle builder for the large residential development in Clermont 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.

The Garrels family (L-R:) Lee, Michael, Georgia, Lachlan and Gemma outside Mackay Courthouse after an investigation into Jason Garrels death.
The Garrels family (L-R:) Lee, Michael, Georgia, Lachlan and Gemma outside Mackay Courthouse after an investigation into Jason Garrels death. Lee Constable

"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 500 millimetres in the ground.

Mr Labuschewski said Mr Day had told him there was "no standard" when it came to temporary wires and he said he had taken his word for it, the court was told.

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 fatally electrocuted.

Topics:  builder court death electrician mackay



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