Contractor’s breach created electrocution risk
A refrigeration and air-conditioning company left an electrical system in a dangerous condition, thereby exposing workers to the risk of an electric shock, or electrocution.
Coolcheck Refrigeration Ltd was contracted to disconnect a refrigerated counter unit during the refurbishment of an industrial premises in Bishop Auckland, Durham.
In July last year, an employee of Coolcheck Refrigeration disconnected the unit and placed electrical tape over the top of a miniature circuit breaker to indicate it should remain isolated. He also bound one end of the disconnected cable, which was still attached to a junction box on the floor. However after the worker had left the site, the copper conducting wires inside the unattached end of the cable became exposed.
On 3 August 2011, an electrician moved the cable to carry out some work. As he did so, the copper wires touched the wall where the circuit breaker was positioned, causing an electrical short circuit. The incident was reported to the HSE.
A subsequent investigation by the Executive found that the Coolcheck Refrigeration employee was not qualified to carry out electrical work of this nature. The work had not been properly planned, which meant neither the junction box nor the circuit breaker had been isolated.€
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