Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court has fined two companies after two employees suffered severe burns from a live electricity distribution board.
The court fined a specialist technology firm based in Essex, £24,000 after pleading guilty to breaching Regulation 14 of the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 and an electrical services firm based in Fife, £20,000 for admitting a breach of the same Regulation.
An investigation held by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) revealed that two employees working for the electrical services company were severely injured when a capacitor, from the distribution board fell onto a live conductor causing a ‘flashover’.
The court was told that one of the men was working on a ladder and lifted the edge of the capacitor to enable his colleague to place the distributor underneath. The board moved and caused a short circuit and electrical arc when the metal housing came into contact with live vertical risers.
The very high temperatures caused severe burns to their face, neck and arms.
After the case was heard Kerry Cringan from the HSE said:
“Live work should only be undertaken if it is unreasonable to make the conductors dead and suitable precautions are taken to prevent injury.”
“In this case, it was reasonable to undertake the work while the distribution board was switched off which would have reduced the risks so far as was reasonably practicable and prevented the accident.”