Company fined £225,000 following electric shock and burn incident

On 30th July 2016, an electrician in the substation of a construction site at Shoe Lane in London was carrying out work for Wingate Electrical. This involved the disconnection and relocation of a site intake distribution assembly. While disconnecting a cable by unbolting it, the spanner the worker was using contacted a live terminal. His clothing was set on fire and he sustained burn injuries to his head, arms, torso and legs. The worker was taken to hospital for treatment and spent three and a half weeks in a coma. He has undergone and continues to undergo multiple skin grafts.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive found Wingate personnel were in fact working near live conductors; had failed to inspect equipment and failed to consider isolating the high voltage supply to the substation.

Wingate Electrical PLC of Wingate House, Rutherford Road, Basingstoke, Hampshire pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 3(1)(a) of the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 and has been fined a total of £225,000 and ordered to pay £10,662.56 in costs.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector David Swaite said, “Anyone planning work on electrical equipment should carry out suitable and sufficient checks to ensure that the correct point of isolation is selected, so that no person works on or near live equipment.”

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