Page 10 - IOSH Magazine June 2019
P. 10


        HSE issues warning over electrical supply

        connections after worker’s flashover burns

        A worker who threw a crowbar at live
        electrical equipment that he thought
        had been isolated sustained severe
        burns in the resulting flashover.

        A principal contractor and its   However, the power supply
        subcontractor have been fined   had not been isolated and the
        over the incident on 12 April   crowbar came into contact
        2017.                      with live exposed wires. This
          Chelmsford Magistrates’   caused a flashover with    The equipment had not been isolated when a worker threw a crowbar at it
        Court was told that two    temperatures of more than
        demolition workers employed   several thousand degrees and a   statements, which required all   HSE inspector Adam Hills
        by subcontractor R B Haigh   subsequent fire.         equipment to be treated as live   said: “This incident has had a
        and Sons were removing       Banks sustained serious   unless written authorisation   significant impact on Mr Banks’s
        electrical distribution    burns and was taken to     proved otherwise.         life and the injuries could so very
        equipment from a switchgear   hospital immediately.     The company, trading as   easily have been fatal. Had the
        room at the former Molecular   The Health and Safety   Wadham Homes, pleaded    companies followed the control
        Products site in Thaxted,   Executive (HSE) found that the   guilty to breaching s 3(1) of   measures outlined in their risk
        Essex.                     work had not been properly   the Health and Safety at Work   assessments, this incident would
          The principal contractor for   planned and control measures   Act and was fined £80,000   not have occurred.
        the demolition work, A J   were not in place to ensure the   plus costs of £3,816.   “Never assume that an
        Wadhams, had told employee   power supply had been      Russell and Stuart Haigh,   electrical supply is discon-
        Alan Banks that the 400 AC   isolated.                partners of R B Haigh and   nected. Always check with the
        equipment was isolated.      It said A J Wadhams had   Sons, pleaded guilty to   distribution network operator
          To reassure his colleague   failed to follow “clear   breaching reg 3(1) of the   or a qualified electrician to
        that it was safe, Banks threw a   procedures” outlined in its   Electricity at Work Regulations   obtain written proof of isolation
        crowbar at it.             risk assessments and method   and were also fined £80,000.   before commencing work.”

          Mobile barriers designed by US
          military shielding UK road workers

          Two giant mobile barrier lorries   investing £150m in emerging
          have been deployed in the West   technologies and new materials
          Midlands to improve the safety   to improve road safety.
          of road workers and minimise   The government-owned
          disruption caused by roadworks   company charged with operating,
          and incidents.            maintaining and improving
             Highways England and    England’s motorways and major
          construction firm Kier are using    A roads, has also rolled out four
          the 21 m-long, 16 tonne barriers,    new solar-powered closed-circuit                                 © Highways England
          designed originally by the US   television systems in the West   The barrier lorries are 21 m long
          military to guard soldiers against   Midlands.
          roadside bombs, to protect road   The mobile systems can be   In another innovation,    Their autonomous
          workers and reduce the number   sited at different locations to    Highways England is testing   nature should also reduce the
          of cones.                 provide surveillance and feed   self-driving trucks that could   risk of road workers being
             The mobile equipment acts   back information about traffic   help speed up roadworks.  involved in incidents on site.
          as a physical barrier and absorbs   flows to Highways England’s con-  The dump trucks, which can   Highways England has
          the impact from a moving vehicle   trol room. One of them is operat-  shift huge volumes of earth,   committed £150,000 from its
          if struck from the side. A lorry-   ing at junction 6 on the M42, near   have the potential to work   innovation designation fund
          mounted crash cushion provides   Birmingham International Airport,   around the clock, so could cut   into the dump truck trial on the
          further protection at the rear,   and allows organisations to access   job completion times, said the    A14 between Cambridge and
          said Highways England, which is    the information to plan journeys.  company.   Huntingdon.

        8 JUNE 2019
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