In the News: Failure to manage contractors results in significant injuries and £1 million fine
A retail company and an electrical contracting company have been fined after an electrician suffered serious burns to 15 per cent of his body when he was caught in an explosion at a warehouse in Liverpool.
On 22 September 2018, an electrician was using a metal spanner to repair an electrical fault at B&M Retail Ltd warehouse, in Speke. The spanner he was using came into contact with a live busbar (metallic strip) linked to the power distribution causing an electrical explosion. The 35-year-old electrician sustained serious injuries which included burns to his arms, hands, thighs, legs, and face. He was placed in an induced coma for two weeks and had to undergo several skin grafts. As a result of the incident the electrician was unable to work for five months.
A HSE investigation found that the victim, who was employed by Daker Ltd, had been attempting to connect a generator to B&M’s Low Voltage supply in order to allow B&M to operate some of its core site functions whilst high voltage maintenance was being undertaken. This work was complex involving several contractors and required co-ordination of different working parties with specific time limited requirements. There was insufficient planning between parties beforehand including who was in charge of each site, coordination of work and exchange of relevant documentation.
B&M failed to appoint a suitably competent person to plan and carry out the work to connect temporary generators to their distribution board at the premises. At Liverpool Crown Court, the company was fined £1,000,000 and ordered to pay costs of £4,978.
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