Here at Access Training, we constantly stress the importance of safe electrical practice in the workplace, but this unfortunate incident really brings it home!
On the 12th of April 2017, two demolition workers were tasked with removing electrical distribution equipment from a switchgear room at the Molecular Products site in Essex. The principal contractor had told the men that the electrical equipment they were dealing with had been fully isolated.
Foolishly, one man attempted to 'reassure his colleague' that the electricals had in fact been isolated by throwing a metal crowbar at the 400v ac equipment.
Unfortunately, when the crowbar came into contact with the live electricals it created a flashover (explosion) at temperatures of several thousand degrees which led immediately to quite a devastating fire. The man who through the crowbar, Mr Banks, suffered serious burns and was taken into hospital.
HSE investigated this incident and found that the task had not been properly planned at that suitable control measures hadn't been put in place. The principal contractor had failed to follow the procedures stating that all electrical equipment should be treated as live until properly checked and confirmed to be isolated.
- Mr Banks sustained horrific burns & injuries
- Russel Haigh and Stuart Haigh pled guilty to breaching Regulation 3 of the Electricity at Work Regulations Act 1989 and we both fined £80,000
- AJ Wadhams & Co Ltd pled guilty to breaching section of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 197 and was fined £80,000
HSE inspector Adam Hills said:
“This incident has had a significant impact on Mr Banks life and the injuries could so very easily have been fatal. Had the companies followed the control measures outlined in their respective risk assessments, then this incident would not have occurred. Never assume that an electrical supply is disconnected. Always check with the distribution network operator or a qualified electrician to obtain written proof of isolation before commencing work.”
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If there's one thing to take away from this, it's that working with electricals can be incredibly dangerous (and costly) if something goes wrong. That's why we can't stress enough how important it is that you receive the proper electrical training before carrying out this kind of work!
Here at Access Training Academies, we offer electrical training for students of all ages and abilities. If you're interested in pursuing a career in electrical work, come and learn the necessary skills and practices at one of our training centres.
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If you have any questions about our electrical courses, or to arrange a visit to one of our test centres, please don't hesitate to get in touch. You can call us on 0800 345 7492 or email us at email@example.com.