Two firms, namely C&F Electrical Services Limited based in Glenrothes, Fife and Raytheon Systems Limited, Essex were fined £20,000 and £24,000 respectively, after two workers were seriously burned and left disfigured.
The two men were working on a live electricity distribution board when a capacitor, two of which the men were meant to be replacing, accidently fell onto a live conductor causing a 'flashover' and burning the men on the face, neck and arms.
As in this case, electrical flashovers usually occur when there is inadvertent contact between an energised conductor and another conductor or an earthed surface, which results in bright light, loud noise and exceedingly high temperatures.
The fines were imposed after both firms plead guilty to breaching Regulation 14 of the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 at Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court
Commenting on the matter, Kerry Cringan, who is an HSE Inspector and investigated this case in particular, stated:
"The failure by both C&F Electrical Services and Raytheon Systems to plan the work on the electrical distribution switchgear has resulted in two employees suffering life changing injuries from an electrical flashover.
"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."
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