Jason Garrels was fatally electrocuted on a worksite in 2012.
Jason Garrels was fatally electrocuted on a worksite in 2012. Daily Mercury Archives

Could new law have saved Jason's life?

AFTER their son Jason was electrocuted on a Clermont worksite in 2012, Michael and Lee Garrels began calling for change.

Five years later the Queensland Parliament has acted to prevent more people dying on unsafe worksites and thanked the Gympie family for "saving lives".

When Jason Garrels was electrocuted in February 2012, he had only been working there for nine days.

Electrical contractor Nathan Day has been charged with manslaughter over Jason's death. Mr Day is yet to enter a plea.

On Thursday, Queensland Public Works Minister Mick de Brenni introduced a bill in Parliament in Brisbane allowing the Queensland Building and Construction Commission to cancel the licences of operators running unsafe worksites.

Mr Garrels said the changes would save lives on dangerous worksites.

"These laws are definitely welcomed because if they were in place in 2012 there's a chance Jason would not have died," he said.

"But I think there are still a lot of things that need to change."

Mr Garrels said he wanted to see changes to the Coronial Act to allow inquests to occur when criminal investigations were underway.

Mr de Brenni said the Garrels's work was vital in helping to ensure lessons were learnt from Jason's death.

"I can't imagine the utter devastation suffered by the Garrels family," he said.

"I have no doubt that the Garrels family's tireless advocacy has saved lives and will continue to save lives."

Under the proposal the regulator will be notified in the case of a death, serious injury or a risk to health and safety on a building site.

"Licence holders will also be required to let the QBCC know if they think that a person is not complying with, for example, an electrical safety notice," he said.

"The powers of the QBCC will be strengthened and clarified so it can decide to cancel a licence if a licensee has caused death or serious injury to a person on a building site or is causing serious risk to the health and safety of a person." 

Mr Garrels said "giving the QBCC teeth" was vital to making workplaces safer. 

The LNP has not revealed whether it will support the proposed changes.

Mr de Brenni said more powers would be given to the construction watchdog to ensure dodgy operators were shut down.

"If you fail to protect workers you do not deserve to have a licence in this state," he said.

"Good operators should not have to compete with those who cut corners and jeopardise workers' safety."

Mr de Brenni said the changes were based on the recommendations from the coronial inquest into Jason's death.

The parliamentary public works committee will consider the bill and report back in August.