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Wednesday, August 17, 2022

B&M Bargains and Bolton company fined after electrician injured

A high street chain has been ordered to pay a £1M fine after a Bolton-based electrician was left with serious burns to 15 per cent of his body while carrying out work at a warehouse.

The victim was an employee of Daker Ltd, an electrical contracting company which was registered in Bolton at the time, September 2018.

The 35-year-old electrician sustained serious injuries which included burns to his arms, hands, thighs, legs, and face, and he was placed in an induced coma for two weeks and had to undergo several skin grafts.

As a result of the incident the electrician was unable to work for five months.

The electrician was using a metal spanner to repair an electrical fault at B&M Retail Ltd warehouse in Speke, Liverpool.

The spanner he was using came into contact with a live busbar – a metallic strip – linked to the power distribution which caused an electrical explosion.

The victim said: “I am very conscious of the scars and always think people are staring at me or talking about me behind my back.

“To me, my arms look like Freddy Kruger’s from Nightmare on Elm Street.

“I now can’t play with my little boys as much as I used to and I’m worried about hurting myself, and they are worried about hurting me. I have paranoia of being touched.

“I do worry about the future as I know the pain will never go away and might get worse, leaving me unable to work and support my family.”

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation determined that the work was complex, involving several contractors and required co-ordination of different working parties with specific time limited requirements.

The workplace health and safety regulator added that there was insufficient planning between parties beforehand including who was in charge of each site, coordination of work and exchange of relevant documentation.

The HSE said that B&M Retail Ltd pleaded guilty at Liverpool Crown Court on July 20 to breaching Section 2 (1) and Section 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. The company was fined £1m and ordered to pay costs of £4,978.

It added that Daker Ltd of Stewart House, 139 Tonge Moor Road, Bolton pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and was fined £100. 

HSE inspector Roger Clarke said: “This incident has had life-changing consequences on the victim and his family.

“It could have been avoided if the companies involved had taken the time to appropriately plan and coordinate tasks to ensure the circuit was dead, eliminating the risk of electrocution to workers.

“Working with electricity is a high-risk activity and safety must be a priority.”



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