EnergyAustralia has released a statement regarding the death of a Unit Controller at the Yallourn Power Station in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley.
EnergyAustralia Managing Director, Catherine Tanna, said on the afternoon of Monday 12 November, Graeme Edwards suffered severe burns to a large proportion of his body as he was re-installing a high-voltage circuit breaker on one of the plant’s four generation units.
The procedure, known as “racking”, is a routine but potentially hazardous part of operations, done by trained operators wearing protective clothing and equipment. The work involves manually winding the circuit into place. It was part of a planned 70-day maintenance program on the generation unit.
Emergency services, including Ambulance Victoria and Victoria Police, were on site within 15 minutes of the incident. Graeme was taken by air ambulance to hospital in Melbourne where he was placed on life support.
“No words can express the distress being felt by those who knew Graeme and worked with him during his long career in the energy industry,” Ms Tanna said.
“Graeme spent three decades at Yallourn after moving from Melbourne, because he wanted to make his career in energy.
“He was known as a gentleman, a hardworking and popular teammate. He’d just celebrated his 54th birthday.”
EnergyAustralia is providing support to its people through its Employee Assistance Program and onsite chaplaincy service.
The area of the plant where Graeme was working has been made safe. WorkSafe Victoria will do an investigation, as will EnergyAustralia.
“We will find out what went wrong,” Ms Tanna said.
“Right now, our immediate priority is Graeme’s family and our people, and providing what little comfort we can to them.
“Graeme’s loss is deeply felt by his friends at Yallourn and by everyone who knew him.”