Seqwater has been recognised at the Safe Work and Return to Work Awards for taking action in response to an electrical safety issue that could have caused serious injury.

The bulk water authority, which manages $11.3 billion of water supply assets across  South East Queensland, was today honoured with a Highly Commended at the annual awards.

Held during National Safe Work Month, the awards shine a spotlight on workplaces across Queensland that have shown excellence in safety or getting people back to work after injury or illness.

More than 140 organisations and individuals across the state entered this year’s awards, which covered 13 categories; from ‘Best work health and safety management system’ to’ best rehabilitation and return to work practices’.

At a breakfast ceremony in Brisbane this morning, Seqwater received the award in the ‘Best Solution to an identified electrical issue’ category.

The award was given in recognition of Seqwater’s response to an electrical safety incident which took place at one of its water treatment plants last year.

Seqwater Acting Chief Executive Officer Jim Pruss praised the strong response from the organisation’s operational, planning and safety teams.

“While there were no resulting injuries, the incident raised an immediate concern over the electrical safety of workers and contractors,” Mr Pruss said.

“Our response was very much a joint effort from a range of our teams working together and was a strong demonstration of our safety culture.

“At Seqwater our safety goal is very simple - every worker should go home safe and healthy at the end of each day.”

Safety concerns were triggered after a roofing sub-contractor penetrated an electrical cable with a screw while fixing new sheets to the roof of the plant.

A subsequent incident investigation found the screw had penetrated into a power circuit cable which had not been protected by a residual current device – a life-saving device designed to prevent people from fatal electric shocks if they touch something live.

As a result, Seqwater undertook a thorough inspection of all its workplaces to make sure all power and lighting circuits were protected by a residual current device and appropriately earthed to prevent accidental electric shock.

The scope of work involved the inspection of more than 220 sites and 1100 distribution boards during a six-month period.

A program to safely install any lighting and power circuits not currently protected is now underway and is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

As part of the initiative, Seqwater also distributed a safety message to its employees to alert and inform them about electrical risks that may be present in their own homes.

Seqwater team accepts a highly commended award at the 
‘Best Solution to an identified electrical issue’ category at the Safe Work and Return to Work Awards.