Electrical cabinet vandalised leaving 240v parts exposed to members of public… Newport City Council has appeared in court after a young boy had his finger amputated after suffering an electric shock at a skate park in the city.
The 13 year old accident victim was with friends at the International Sports Village at the time of the accident on 31 December 2011. He was in the process of turning on some floodlights at the park and received the electric shock as his finger touched the switch. He was unaware that the electrical unit had previously been vandalised making it unsafe and causing severe injuries to his hand. His left index finger had to be amputated as a result of the incident and his middle finger required a skin graft.
Cwmbran Magistrates’ Court heard that the door to the electrical cabinet had been broken into and vandalised leaving the 240v electrical parts exposed to members of the public. A park ranger had noticed the damaged cabinet on 23 December 2011 but no action had been taken to make the area safe since he reported it.
The court was also informed that the Council had failed in their duty to carry out an adequate risk assessment of the dangers associated with electricity at the park. If so they could have implemented electrical safety measures like reinforcing the door to the cabinet, or installing a residual-current device (RCD). It was also revealed that there wasn’t enough supervision at the park and that the electrical cabinet should have had warning signs to prevent access to it.
The Council pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £5,000 in addition to prosecution costs of £9,477.
HSE Inspector Joanne Carter commented after the hearing:
“This was an extremely serious incident that has had disabling long-term effects on a young teenager.
“Anyone close to or touching the exposed live parts was in danger of serious injury from electric shock. The fact that the cabinet was located in a damp environment could also have made a shock more severe.
“It is disappointing that the health and safety management by the Council didn’t address the risks that manifested. They failed to put in systems to control the risk, did not communicate the risks to employees and did not inspect the cabinet. Nor did they improve the mechanical protection of the cabinet or mark it as being an electrical danger.”
Author: Julian Roberts
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