Info Bite 184: Power contractor pays £235,000 over electric shock injuries

An electrical contractor which specialises in providing temporary power supplies to construction sites has been fined a quarter of a million pounds after a worker suffered an electric shock and sustained life-changing burn injuries.

An electrician was carrying out work for Wingate Electrical at a substation on a construction site in Shoe Lane, in the City of London.

Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard how, on 30 July 2016, the worker was trying to disconnect and relocate a site intake distribution assembly.

While the worker was disconnecting a cable by unbolting it, the spanner he was using contacted a live terminal.

His clothing was set on fire and he sustained burn injuries to his head, arms, torso and legs.

The worker was taken to hospital for treatment and spent three and a half weeks in a coma. According to the HSE, he has undergone, and continues to undergo, multiple skin grafts.

An investigation by the HSE found that Wingate personnel had been working near live conductors, and had failed to consider isolating the high voltage supply to the substation.

There was also a failure to inspect the equipment prior to starting work.

Wingate Electrical pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 3(1)(a) of the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989.

It was fined a total of £225,000 and ordered to pay £10,662 in costs.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector David Swaite said: “Anyone planning work on electrical equipment should carry out suitable and sufficient checks to ensure that the correct point of isolation is selected, so that no person works on or near live equipment.”