Company fined as worker suffers serious burns

A company has been fined after a worker sustained serious burns to their body.

Carl Lowery had been working on new apartment blocks at The Crescent, Hulme Street, Salford when an electrical flash blew him backwards and burnt his arms and face on 12 May 2020.

The then 37-year-old underwent multiple surgeries following the incident and required a skin graft from his thigh.

Carl, now 41, had been working alongside a colleague at SRE Cabling and Jointing Limited, with the company sub-contracted by Aberla M&E Limited to carry out cabling and jointing works on the new apartments.

The pair were working on the building’s main switchboard, with nearby bus bars left live with electricity and covered by a guard panel.  However, a gap in the guard panel led to a nut rolling behind and coming into contact with the live bus bars, causing an electrical flash which blew Carl backwards and burnt his arms and face.

A Health and Safety Executive investigation into this incident found Aberla M&E Limited had incorrectly assumed the guard panel was sufficient separation of the workers from the live bus bars. The company failed to take into account a gap in the guard panel, which risked nuts, bolts, tools and even fingers coming into contact with the bus bars. There was also a failure to issue a permit to work (PTW) on or near live components, which resulted in the main switchboard being left live. There was also a distinct lack of live works monitoring by the company, with the electrical site manager rarely visiting the work area.

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