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FIRM FINED AFTER ELECTRICAL EXPLOSION BURNS WORKMAN

Disastrous assumption made by contractor highlights need for proper enquiries

Pineview Interiors Limited has been prosecuted after a workman sustained serious burns in an electrical explosion  on a construction site at in Islington, North London on the 30th April 2010. The man was working  on a large refurb project involving three adjacent buildings and  including apartments and commercial use.

The company failed to carry out appropriate checks which would have prevented the explosion caused when a main electrical supply cable to the site was cut during its removal.

 A 415 volt 3 phase temporary electrical supply had been provided to the site. The Court heard that on the morning of the incident the workman explained to his supervisor that the electrical cable would need to be removed so that plaster board could be installed.

HSE investigators found that very limited enquiries were taken to establish whether the cable was live. Workmen proceeded with removal on the false assumption that the cable being described must have been a redundant cable from the pre-existing installation.

Removal commenced from a step ladder using a hammer and chisel. The court heard that the worker recalls waking up on the floor with another employee extinguishing flames on the top half of his body. He was taken to hospital, suffering burns to between 30 to 35 percent of his body. He has had to have a skin graft from his legs to his body and arms. It is expected to take up to two years for his skin to recover.

‘Cursory’ attempts to confirm system status

Pineview Interiors Limited of Rainham, Havering, London, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. It was fined a total of £10,000 and ordered to pay costs of £4,183.

Speaking after the prosecution, HSE Inspector Dominic Elliss said:

Refurbishment works continue to contribute a high proportion of the serious and fatal injuries reported within the construction industry. The company were aware that their works would require the removal of an electrical head. They were, or should have been, aware that this well labelled system remained live at the time that they instructed their employees to commence work in this location.

The company allowed those with no electrical training or relevant experience to remove the live electrical system with nothing but the most cursory attempt at seeking confirmation that the system was in fact dead. As a direct result of the defendant’s failure to identify or control the risk of short circuit their employee suffered extensive burn injuries from the resulting explosion.

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One Response to “FIRM FINED AFTER ELECTRICAL EXPLOSION BURNS WORKMAN”

  1. HSE ENFORCEMENT WEEKLY UPDATE 23rd NOVEMBER 2011 | PP Construction Safety News Desk Says:

    […] Pineview Interiors Limited – work near live 415 volt supply: £10,000; […]