Joiner’s boilersuit set on fire during explosion

Grant Prior 12 years ago
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A joiner’s boilersuit was set on fire when a short circuit caused an electrical explosion in Aberdeen.

George Forbes, 62, was working for Graeme W Cheyne (Builders) Ltd refurbishing flats on Holburn Street in the city on 11 November 2008 when he attempted to move a redundant electricity power supply, known as a fuse cut-out, because he needed to fit new plasterboard behind it.

Unknown to Forbes, the fuse cut-out was still live and connected to a 415 volt cable when he touched it.

The Health and Safety Executive investigation revealed that the cable was twisted, causing a short-circuit that created enough energy to melt the cable and create a small explosion.

Cheyne was fined £9,000 and ordered to pay Forbes £4,000.

Aberdeen Sheriff Court heard that Forbes suffered burns to his face and his left hand. While he recovered and returned to work a few weeks later, he was extremely lucky not to have been electrocuted.

Following the case, HSE Inspector Liz Standen said: “It’s lucky Mr Forbes was not electrocuted or more seriously hurt when the 415 volt cable blew up in his face in what was an entirely avoidable incident.

“Graeme W Cheyne (Builders) Ltd, should have checked that all redundant electrical services on the property had been proven to be dead by a competent person before working on or near them.

“It is extremely dangerous to make assumptions that electrical equipment is safe to work with.”

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