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Electrician unable to work after suffering serious body burns

A company has been fined £40,000 after an electrician sustained serious burns to his body that left him unable to work.

Electrician burns
Electrician Carl Lowery suffered serious burns (Image: HSE)

Carl Lowery, 41, 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.

He had been working alongside a colleague for SRE Cabling and Jointing Ltd. The company was subcontracted by Aberla M&E Ltd to carry out cabling and jointing works on the new apartments.

The two 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 the electrical flash.

Following the incident, Lowery underwent multiple surgeries and required a skin graft from his thigh.

Unable to work since the accident

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found that Aberla M&E had incorrectly assumed the guard panel was sufficient separation from the live bus bars for the workers.

HSE said the company failed to consider 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 on or near live components, which resulted in the main switchboard being left live. The company failed to monitor live works, with the electrical site manager rarely visiting the work area.

Aberla M&E Ltd, of The Parklands, Bolton, Greater Manchester, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. It was fined £40,000 and ordered to pay £20,000 in costs at Manchester Magistrates’ Court on 14 March 2024.

Lowery said in his victim personal statement that he has been unable to work since the accident, “mentally or physically”.

He added: “My left hand is my dominant hand and after the accident I had no grip. I had to try and learn how to use my non-dominant hand.”

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