Warning after Denishar Woods receives Near-Fatal Electric Shock from Garden Tap

By Rebecca Trigger and Graeme Powell (5th March 2018)

After a young girl received a massive electric shock from a garden hose, the national peak electrical body has warned people to watch out for danger signs that wiring may be faulty. Denishar Woods, 11, was shocked on Saturday night after she tried to turn off the garden hose at her state housing property in the Perth suburb of Beldon.

This morning she remained in a critical but stable condition at Princess Margaret Hospital. Master Electricians Australia chief executive Malcolm Richards told the ABC while it was not yet known how the girl came to be shocked, an electrical current could run through a tap if the main neutral wire running into a house became damaged or broken.

Denishar Woods, 11, received a severe electrical shock from a garden tap. (Supplied). "One of the problems with our supply system is if there is a fault in the incoming supply where the power connects to the house and the neutral wire breaks, it can result in voltage being seen on everything that's earthed in the house," he said. This includes anything plugged into a wall socket, water taps and pipes. He said when there were taps, and in a wet situation, the result could be exaggerated. "When you grab those water taps to turn the tap off, you may feel that voltage between the tap and the actual ground itself," Mr Richards said. "And that can become quite severe as we've most likely seen with this case," he said. A "tingling" garden tap can be a sign of electrical danger. (Giulio Saggin: ABC News).

 

Strength of Current Concerning

He said while this situation was not uncommon, it was unlikely to result in such a serious shock as that which hit Denishar.

"This is a particularly concerning event and we have to make sure that supply coming into the house is safe and sound," Mr Richards said. "We don't know the particulars in this case, but it can often be exaggerated by the nature of water, the resistance to the ground and other factors, and whether the connection is completely broken or only partially broken," Mr Richards said. "There are a lot of variables, but every now and then [there] can be a serious shock." Mr Richards said residual current devices (RCDs) would not protect you in this scenario, because the break was "upstream".

Warning Signs

He said signs to watch out for included "tingles" from taps or other electrical devices. If these were present you should:

  • Avoid touching taps, pipes and electrical devices

  • Put on soft-shelled rubber, insulated shoes

  • Call a licensed electrician or Western Power

National Electrical and Communications Association WA executive director Garry Itzstein agreed receiving a serious shock through a garden tap was very rare. He said potential causes included:

  • Damage to the cables or equipment in the home or gardens caused by pests such as rats eating through cable insulation

  • Poor installation methods if any previous DYI electrical work has been undertaken on the property

  • The use of electrical products which are not compliant to Australian Standards.

  • Previous maintenance or repair work, additions or changes that may have damaged the electrical systems

WESTOZ Electrical Services has performed 20+years of electrical work. due to electrical rulings changing over the years and many older homes in Perth, Western Australia home owners and tenants of rental homes are not aware of potential hazards associated with this event above, we trust this article will educate the public.  If you are unsure about your home or rental home, please URGENTLY have a licenced electrician perform a safety check to save lives and/or prevent serious injuries like what this little girl has suffered, it was heartbreaking to watch and hear about this event.  WESTOZ Electrical Services thoughts are with this young girl "Denishar Woods" and her family, may all who read this article please take action, as to prevent this tragedy in the future.

Update on Denishar Woods 25 September 2018;

WA Government rejects $3.2m payment to Denishar Woods

DENISHAR Woods, who suffered a catastrophic brain injury after being shocked by a garden tap, has had her $2.3 million payment rejected.

Shireen Khalil; news.com.auSEPTEMBER 25, 201812:49PM

 

Denishar Woods returns to the classroom (9News)

THE Western Australian Government has rejected a proposed partial settlement for an 11-year-old Perth girl who suffered a catastrophic brain injury after receiving an electric shock from a garden tap. Denishar Woods was shocked with up to 230 volts after she touched the tap in her family’s public housing property in March this year, leaving her unable to walk and talk.

The National Indigenous Critical Response Service (NICRS), which has been supporting the Perth girl’s family since the incident, said the government’s decision to reject making the $3.2 million payment is “morally and politically abominable”.

National co-ordinator of the NICRS Gerry Georgatos said it’s a diabolical, reprehensible predicament that’s been knocked up by the State Government in rejecting the ex-gratia. “The ex-gratia partial advance on the due compensation would have significantly reduced distress levels for the family, reduced vulnerabilities, improved life circumstance, would have provided security with a home owned by Denishar, would have afforded specialist carers and therapies,” Mr Georgatos told news.com.au.

He said the family is under enormous financial pressures, unable to afford adequate specialist care management, unable to afford therapies, unable to afford essentials. “That the family has been stranded like this for the next few years ’til compensation is settled is both morally and politically abominable.”

Denishar Woods suffered an electric shock after using a garden tap. Picture: 9 NewsSource:Channel 9 . She spent more than two months at Princess Margaret Hospital in Perth.Source:News Corp Australia NICRS CEO Adele Cox added if a government wants to behave like this, “we’ll go hard”. “My team — the NICRS — are working to the point of fatigue supporting the family, and other families in dire circumstance, because governments can meet their basic obligations to their constituents. We will pursue the Government where we must,” Ms Cox said.

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The family has attracted support of many including Sandy Davies, chairman of the Geraldton Regional Aboriginal Medical Services, who has met with the family and the NICRS arguing “it’s a disgrace” that the family’s ex-gratia application has not been upheld.

“An ex-gratia payment would have meant owning a home, security, all the purpose-built needs — government should do the right thing here,” Mr Davies said. It was predicted she would not survive, but Denishar remarkably returned to school a few weeks ago, six months after she was electrocuted.Source:Supplied

Denishar’s mother, Lacey Harrison, said she was “shell-shocked” by the government’s decision which would “strand my daughter, my children, myself as a mother”. “We should not be in this deplorable position where we’ve got to wait years for the compensation,” she said.

Mr Georgatos is begging the State Government to review its “disgraceful decision” as the taskforce can’t afford the specialist care and therapies.

He said the full settlement for Denishar was likely to run to between $10 and $15 million to cover the cost of her care for the rest of her life. But he said that could take several years to finalise and the ex-gratia payment would ease some of the family’s enormous financial pressures.

The WA Government recently approved an act of grace payment to allow the family to buy a specially-modified vehicle.Source:Supplied

The taskforce has secured three months of free taxi travel for Denishar to medical appointments, through Swan Taxis.

The WA Government is currently being contacted for comment. However, last month it approved an act of grace payment to allow the family to buy a specially modified vehicle.

An investigation into the incident is still before the Office of Energy Safe, which according to Mr Georgatos, was due to be resolved by June.

“It is utterly improper it has not been completed and made public,” he said.

WESTOZ Electrical Services is currently following Denishar Woods progress and only trusts the sytem will not deny Denisher Woods and her family the right to ensure Fair and Just compensation is provided to ensure the long term care required will be of some comfort to the family and Denisher, we wish Denishar and family a fair and just resolution and to ensure Denishar receives the best treatments and special needs.

Please everyone be aware of the above listed Warning Signs.

Government of Western Australia - Media Statement (Denishar Woods) as at Friday 27th September 2019;

https://www.mediastatements.wa.gov.au/Pages/McGowan/2019/09/Investigator-releases-report-into-electric-shock-of-Denishar-Woods.aspx

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