MEL Health and Safety Consultants

Prosecution Following Death of Electrical Contractor

Live Conductor Labelled 'Not in Use'

A qualified electrician was fatally electrocuted when he came into contact with a live conductor in a cable on which he was working.


Michael Adamson was installing cables, fixtures and fittings when the accident happened. The cable he was working on had not been safely and securely isolated from the electricity supply — despite being labelled “not in use”.


Mitie Engineering Services (Edinburgh) Ltd was fined £300,000 after being found guilty of charges under Section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work, etc Act 1974.


According to Health and Safety Executive (HSE) figures, about 2000 incidents involving electrical injury occur in the workplace every year, with about 20 of these resulting in a fatality. The HSE has reported “widespread violation of safe working practices” across the electrical contracting industry.


With this in mind, the HSE has issued a warning to the industry to highlight the tragic consequences of not practicing safe working procedures when working on live electrical systems. Managers and supervisors in the industry are reminded of their duty to take “active steps to ensure that electricians work safely”.


Jim Skilling, HSE Principal Inspector, said, “Michael Adamson’s death could have been prevented had his employer ensured that safe working practices were being carried out in accordance with the company’s own written procedures”.