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Burned worker wins workplace accident compensation

Comments Off on Burned worker wins workplace accident compensation 03 October 2011

On 30th April, a worker who suffered 35% burns after an electrical explosion set him on fire has won 10,000 in compensation. The man, aged 35, was working as a subcontractor at a building site in Finsbury when he cut through a live mains supply cable, causing the potentially fatal blast. He cannot be named for legal reasons.

Investigators at the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that management at the site, overseen by Pineview Interiors Ltd, never actually checked whether the cable was live.

Work was being carried out at the site to refurbish three buildings, turning them into apartments and commercial properties. In order to install some plasterboard, the worker, who can’t be named for legal reasons, had to remove a 415-volt cable. Before proceeding, he asked his supervisor whether it was safe. He answered in the affirmative.

He remembers using a hammer to hit the cable, then the next thing he recalls is regaining consciousness to the sight of a colleague attempting to put out the flames that had engulfed him. It’s anticipated that his skin will take around 2 years to heal.

At the City of London Magistrates Court hearing, Pineview Interiors Ltd pleaded guilty to a breach of Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. They were ordered to pay 10,000 compensation to the victim, plus 4,183 costs.

HSE inspector Dominic Elliss highlighted the fact that “refurbishment works continue to contribute a high proportion of the serious and fatal injuries reported within the construction industry.” He said the company had made “nothing but the most cursory attempt at seeking confirmation that the system was in fact dead.” The extensive burn injuries suffered by the worker who cut through the wire were the “direct result” of the company’s “failure to identify or control the risk of short circuit,” he added.

There has been no comment on the case from Pineview Interiors Ltd, which is based in Rainham, Havering.

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