Balfour fined £280,000 after worker electrocuted

Grant Prior 3 years ago
Share

Balfour Beatty Engineering Services and a M&E maintenance specialist have been fined a total of £380,000 after a worker was electrocuted at a data centre in Middlesex.

BBES was contracted to carry out multi-million pound infrastructure upgrade works at the data centre in Hounslow, while Norland Managed Services Ltd (NMS) were already contracted to provide mechanical and electrical maintenance and had effective control of the site.

Ipswich Crown Court heard Martin Walton, 27, from Cleveland was killed on 16 October 2010 at Morgan Stanley’s Heathrow Data Centre.

The court heard the function of some new power distribution units being installed was to provide two potential power supply sources to the centre’s data storage equipment.

One source was an existing substation on the site and the other was a new substation installed as part of the works.

The existing power supply was under the control of Norland Managed Services Ltd while the new supply was under the control of Balfour Beatty Engineering Services Ltd.

Connection of the first three of these units to the existing data centre infrastructure was scheduled to take place over the weekend of 16th to 18th October 2010.

Last minute modifications to the units required them to be tested with two live supplies to ensure they functioned correctly before being connected to the data centre’s existing infrastructure.

The first unit was successfully modified, tested and connected to the existing infrastructure.

But Walton, a cable jointer employed by subcontracted company, Integrated Cable Services Ltd, was electrocuted when his forehead made contact with the 415V live terminals of the second unit.

During the sentencing hearing and the earlier trial, HSE told the court the underlying cause of the incident was a succession of failures indicative of the complete breakdown of BBES’s management of health and safety in relation to this project, particularly the breakdown of communication.

While NMS had no role in the construction project, the relevant aspect of their undertaking was the management of the impact of the construction project on the existing operational infrastructure under their control.

NMS issued a permit-to-work to Walton allowing him to reroute the existing site power supply through the new distribution unit, in the knowledge it had the potential to receive a supply from a source not under their control and without confirming that that other supply was isolated.

Balfour Beatty Engineering Services admitted safety breaches and was fined £280,000 in total with £42,240 costs.

Norland Managed Services Ltd of Southwark Street, London was found guilty of a safety breach after an earlier trial and was fined £100,000 with £106,670 costs.

Speaking after the sentencing, HSE inspector Loraine Charles said: “Martin Walton’s death, which had a truly devastating effect on his family and friends, was entirely preventable.

“Although BBES claimed to have been under pressure from a difficult and demanding client, they cannot be excused for having lost sight of the need for the effective control of risks arising from the work being carried out under their control at this data centre.

“Permit to work systems were operated poorly or not at all. Not one person involved in the work at the time of the accident had an accurate overall understanding of the work being carried out and, as a consequence, Martin Walton and others were unknowingly working in the vicinity of exposed live electrical terminals.

“NMS, who were operating an effective permit to work system in relation to the equipment under their own control, made no effort to ensure that the work they permitted did not create risk at the point at which it interacted with equipment under BBES control.”

Latest news

MPs slam building inspection and materials testing regimes

Construction under fire for "conflicts of interest that are pervasive throughout the industry"
49 mins ago

London council scraps £2bn Lendlease deal

Haringey rips-up agreement with developer to build 6,400 new homes
3 hours ago

Crane driver breaks back on Balfour Channel Tunnel site

Accident during £120m contract to install electricity cable between Great Britain and France
19 hours ago

Bid race takes-off for London City airport terminal

Key main terminal expansion substructure and concrete works up for grabs
21 hours ago

Kier fined £600,000 after concrete block hits worker

Court hears how lack of supervision led to accident on rail bridge site
11 hours ago

Graham wins £90m Congleton link road

Project includes a 85m bridge over the River Dane
23 hours ago

SES lands £20m M&E deal at soft drinks bottling plant

Work to start this month powering major extension to Rugby factory
2 hours ago

Suppliers unable to contact demolition giant Cuddy Group

Calls to head office going unanswered
1 day ago

Over 1,000 staff still stranded at Carillion

Official Receiver investigators are sifting through 6bn rows of data
1 day ago

Balfour set for £60m Strathclyde Uni teaching hub

Firm lined up for first major job in £650m building programme
1 day ago

Boost your online presence – join the new Enquirer Directory

New site for suppliers and buyers will showcase their products, services and latest stories
3 months ago

60 jobs axed as Somerset building contractor sinks

Long-established R G Spiller enters administration
1 day ago

Nine in 10 councils breaking prompt payment rules

Findings emerge on six month anniversary of collapse of Carillion
2 days ago

Roadworks speed limit could be raised to 60mph

Motorway trials to test different limits through highways sites
2 days ago

McLaughlin & Harvey lands £50m Liverpool training centre

Construction to start in October on new academy
2 days ago

Plans in for final phase of £1bn Chelsea Barracks scheme

Last phase includes 126 affordable homes, and separate sports and medical centres
2 days ago

Joiners injured in temporary access platform collapse

Court hears how two workers plunged seven metres through unsafe platforms at hospital site
2 days ago

Green light for £50m Portsmouth Uni sports centre

Sports hub is the first project in a £400m University upgrade plan
2 days ago

Wates wins £161.5m Wembley resi blocks deal from Quintain

Latest deal is Wates largest ever award on a single site
5 days ago

Construction’s most considerate contractors win ultra site awards

Latest initiative rewards highest industry site standards and supply chain collaboration
2 days ago

Go-ahead for 37-storey Leeds student tower

Work to start before the end of this year on landmark student tower
5 days ago

Construction degrees come under fire from students

Students claim courses fail to prepare them for life in the industry
5 days ago

McAlpine to start £30m Manchester biomedical hub

Work to start in September on Citylabs 2.0 building project
6 days ago

Roofer in six metre plunge on to solid concrete floor

Court hears how worker suffered multiple fractures after plunge on refurbishment job
5 days ago

Cost of industry skills cards set to rise in September

CSCS leaders confirm 20% price rise per card to £36
6 days ago

£300m Bristol Uni campus approved

Work due to start on Temple Quarter Enterprise Campus early next year
5 days ago

Crossrail’s Sir Terry Morgan to lead HS2

Morgan replaces David Higgins as HS2 chairman next month
5 days ago

Shake-up in cladding fire tests to cut wait times

New testing service launched as current capacity swamped post-Grenfell
6 days ago

£25m A55 improvement scheme gets green light

Contractor to be named shortly for 2.2km stretch of the A55 at Abergwyngregyn
6 days ago

Galliford Try starts £43m central Birmingham resi job

Works starts on three blocks of luxury flats at Windmill Hill
6 days ago

Contractor services