British Utility Pays Heavy Fine in Arc Flash Fatality

UK Power Networks (Operations) Ltd., which supplies power to London and southeastern England, pleaded guilty and has been fined $442,000 and ordered to pay $233,000 in court costs, HSE reported.

The May 2008 death of an electrical engineer working for UK Power Networks (Operations) Ltd, which supplies power to London and southeastern England, has resulted in a $442,000 fine and an additional $233,000 in court costs the utility has been ordered to pay, Britain's Health and Safety Executive reported Jan. 4.

John Higgins, 59, from Colchester, died in an arc flash explosion at an electrical substation in Bishops Hall Lane in Chelmsford on May 7, 2008. He was working on a transformer tap changer, a device for manually adjusting voltage ratios, when it exploded, and Chelmsford Crown Court heard Jan. 4 the explosion caused a fire at the substation and also blacked out a large part of Chelmsford, including Broomfield Hospital. Higgins died at the scene.

HSE's investigation found that UK Power Networks had failed to properly assess work with tap changers, did not devise procedures for the work, and failed to adequately train employees for carrying it out. The utility has since revised its procedures for the task, HSE reported.

"John Higgins lost his life in tragic circumstances that could have been avoided had this activity had been properly assessed and managed by UK Power Networks," said Steven Gill, an HSE inspector. "His death illustrates how dangerous work on or near electrical distribution networks can be and how imperative it is that employers, large or small, ensure that all activities involving high-voltage electrical equipment are properly assessed and that safe systems of work in place. There is no room for error or complacency when working with high voltage equipment."

For information on electrical safety at work, visit www.hse.gov.uk/electricity.

Download Center

HTML - No Current Item Deck
  • Heartsaver┬« First Aid CPR AED Online

    This is a self-directed course that uses interactive lessons and videos to teach you comprehensive First Aid, CPR, and AED knowledge. This program is for anyone with limited or no medical training who needs a course completion card in first aid, CPR and AED use to meet job, regulatory or other requirements.
    Click here for more info →


  • Heartsaver┬« Bloodborne Pathogens Online

    This course teaches employees how to protect themselves and others from being exposed to blood or blood-containing materials. This course covers the general OSHA Standard for bloodborne pathogens training for anyone with a reasonable chance for occupational exposure to bloodborne pathogens.
    Click here for more info →


  • American Heart Association
comments powered by Disqus

Free e-News Subscription

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy