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. 

The Consequences:

  • 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.”

Read more about this incident here >

 Electrical Training

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. 

View Our Electrical Courses >

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 info@accesstraininguk.co.uk.

On Friday the 28th March the Electrical Safety Council was no more, relaunching with a new web site as Electrical Safety First. The rebranding is part of a new, ongoing campaign to raise public awareness of the dangers of electricity, after Government survey suggested awareness was at an all-time low. According to their data, only 14% of the general public were even aware of Part P!

The new name has come after 18 months of extensive research into what was already known about electrical safety. This didn't just extend to the general public - the Government, key stakeholders and even the industry itself were also scrutinised over what they knew about the dangers and what they knew about the Electrical Safety Council itself. It seems few knew that the Council was in fact a consumer charity, with many thinking it was either a trade association or part of the Government. So as a result of this, a name change was decided to reflect its nature as a charity.

However not everyone is pleased with the change, as some electricians have criticised dropping the more authoritative 'council' in favour of the more "more meaningless" 'first'. They believe that the name now lacks the respect it previously had and would have been far more suited to a campaign change rather than a charity. However Electrical Safety First defended the change, claiming that their research pointed to them needing a simpler name, along with easier to digest language to accompany it. 

Electrical Safety First say they've already secured significant media coverage to raise the profile of electrical safety, and this has started with the revival of famous 70s/80s public information animated series Charley Says. These films were the work of Richard Taylor Cartoons, and saw a little boy named Tony and his cat Charley learn valuable lessons on all manner of things. The new film is narrated/voiced by comedian David Walliams, who was excited to revive the series. "I loved Charley Says when growing up and I think it's great that Electrical Safety First is bringing the characters back to life and creating some new storylines," he said. "We've all had a go at mimicking Charley the cat's 'meow', so I just hope my version is up to scratch and will help people stay safe in the home."

You can view the new video here at the Electrical Safety First website.

Complicated electrical installations should always be left to the trained professionals, while if you would like to have a go at simpler tasks at home its vital that you AT LEAST have the 17th Edition Wiring Regulations and Part P qualifications. Whether you wish to gain electrician qualifications for professional or personal gain, we can help you achieve them with our intensive training courses here at Access Training. If you'd like to find out more about what our courses entail and book your place, give us a call on 0800 345 7492.