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HSE penalty for electric shock incident

An electrical power company has been fined after a worker was paralysed after receiving an electric shock and falling from a ladder.

Cwmbran Magistrates’ Court heard how an employee of Bristol based Western Power Distribution PLC, suffered permanent spinal injuries as a result of falling from height after coming into contact with live electrical equipment.

The worker was part of a two-man team tasked with changing an antenna at Brithdir cemetery in April 2013. After climbing a ladder he received an electric shock when he touched the antenna. Pushing himself off the ladder to avoid potential electrocution, he fell four and a half metres.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found there to be a fault in the wiring causing the external metal to become connected to the 230v power supply.

Western Power Distribution (South Wales) PLC was fined a total of £300,000, and ordered to pay £18,178 in costs, after pleading guilty to an offence under Regulation 4(1) and 4(3) of the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Dean Baker, said: “The worker suffered life-changing injuries as a result of the company’s failure to carry out adequate tests on electrical equipment and was lucky not to have received a fatal electric shock.”

Full details of the HSE report into this incident are provided here

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