$100,000 fine for Airtasker fake electrician

A man who posed as a qualified electrician to get work in homes around south-east Queensland has been fined $100,000 in the Brisbane Magistrates Court.

Amilcar Appel posed as a qualified electrician on the online marketplace Airtasker and advertised electrical services to households in the greater Brisbane area between November 2015 and June 2017. However, he had never held an electrical contractor licence or any qualifications to perform electrical work.

The Electrical Safety Office (ESO) received a complaint about Appel’s work after a licensed electrician found substantially defective work in a home which Appel had been paid to complete through Airtasker.

An ESO investigation established that Appel had conducted similar unlicensed and non-compliant electrical work at a further eight addresses through Airtasker.

Appel, who failed to make an appearance in court, was convicted and ordered to pay a $100,000 fine for 13 offences under the Electrical Safety Act 2002:

  • Four section 40C (category 2) offences concerning particularly dangerous electrical work performed by the defendant which exposed individuals to a risk of death or serious injury.
  • Eight section 55(1) offences relating to the performance of electrical work while not holding an electrical work licence.
  • One section 56(1) offence relating to conducting a business or undertaking including the performance of electrical work while not holding an electrical contractor licence.

While issuing the hefty fine, Magistrate Belinda Merrin noted that, while no-one was killed or injured, the potential consequences were significant. She also noted Appel had not cooperated with the investigation and there was no indication he felt remorse for his actions.

Community awareness

Electrical contractors should be aware the ESO is promoting to the community the importance of checking their electrical contractor is licensed and advising consumers to check the ESO’s public licence register. Electrical contractors can help consumers and promote confidence by visibly displaying their licence number.

The ESO is also encouraging pre-purchase electrical inspections to assist buyers to identify if a property is safe and complies with all electrical legislation. We are promoting these inspections to assist buyers in avoiding costly and unsafe issues, to act as a deterrent to dangerous and illegal DIY work, and to encourage home owners to commit to better maintenance practices.

Check your licence status

This case also serves as an important reminder for businesses carrying out electrical work to ensure that all workers hold appropriate and current licences, and work within the scope of those licences.

Check your licence status and apply for or renew electrical licences at electricalsafety.qld.gov.au.

Reporting unlicensed work

If you suspect that electrical work has been conducted by an unlicensed individual, report it to ESO on 1300 362 128. 

SOURCE:

Workplace Health & Safety Queensland

March 22, 2019

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