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New Zealand: Report into Electrocution Initiates Call for Safety Devi
Source: http://www.radionz.co.nz
Source Date: Thursday, December 21, 2017
Focus: Electronic and Mobile Government, ICT for MDGs
Country: New Zealand
Created: Dec 22, 2017

The friend of a man electrocuted after cutting through a power cord at a campsite says a coroner's recommendations could save lives. A coroner's report into Matthew Smith's death three years ago has initiated a call for safety devices to be installed at power boxes. Although it was required by law for them to be installed since 2013, there are still 20,000 power sites without them this summer. Mr Smith, 26, had been camping at Whangaruru Beachfront Motor Camp in Northland when he became frustrated with loud music playing nearby. He picked up a multi-tool and walked over to a power box. Three hours later, he was found lying face down. His metal Leatherman tool was fused to his hand, as well as a half cut power cord. Richard Vorschzang, who had been camping with Mr Smith said reading the report made him relive the end of his best mate's life. "It brings back bad memories," he said. Energy Safety New Zealand said the campground didn't have residual current devices, or RCDs.

But the campground wasn't required to have them, as they were only required by new campsites under a law introduced in 2013. The coroner recommended that RCDs be installed at all camping and caravan parks to protect people from the risk of electric shocks. Mr Voschezang said it's a change that is a long time coming. "I'm an electrician myself, so I know the value of RCDs and in this particular case it would have saved his life so I'm very happy about the recommendations," he said. "It's not very often that someone would do what Matt did but at the end of the day if someone mows over it with their lawnmower or something it can potentially save them as well." Fergus Brown, chief executive of the Holiday Parks Association, said that installing the RCDs at all power outlets was a massive task. "We have to transition to it, it's not something you can turn around and do tomorrow." He added that the changes will also affect caravans and campervans, but those haven't been taken into account.

"We've got no idea how many caravans there could be, there could be 20,000 to 30,000 of those around New Zealand which need to be changed as well otherwise you'll have people arriving at holiday parks wanting to plug in and not being able to," he said. Mr Brown said that would require the government to make it a requirement for campervans and caravans. He said Mr Smith's death was unusual, and he's never had concerns raised about the lack of RCDs.

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