Contractor fined after young apprentice electrocuted in caravan site blunder

An independent electrical contractor, whose young apprentice needed a skin graft after suffering an electric shock, has been fined for breaching health and safety requirements.

Friday, 10th July 2015, 12:39 pm
tis. Harrogate Magistrates Court. 311208ARpic14.

Harrogate Magistrates Court heard the apprentice suffered the injuries whilst replacing an electrical hook up point that he believed to be isolated, at a caravan site in July 2013.

Rather than isolating the entire site, his employer, Martin Blackburn, had chosen to carry out the work in stages.

Mr Blackburn told Harrogate Borough Council (HBC) in a subsequent investigation to he had expected his apprentice to isolate the units.

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An investigation concluded that Mr Blackburn did not take into account the apprentice’s lack of experience to ensure that this was done safely.

The contractor was also blamed for not checking the hook up point had in fact been isolated, a simple measure which, the investigation explained, should have been in place.

On Wednesday, July 1, Mr Blackburn was fined £1,000, ordered to pay £100 Victim Surcharge, £500 compensation to the injured party, and Harrogate Borough Council’s costs of £1,800, making a total of £3,400.

Coun John Ennis, Harrogate Borough Council’s Licensing Committee Chairman, criticised the contractor for failing to ensure the safety of the young, inexperienced apprentice.

He said: “This incident could very easily have resulted in the death of a young person at work. Fortunately, the actual injuries were relatively minor.

“This prosecution sends a very clear message to employers that they have a responsibility to ensure the safety of their employees.

“Failure to do so could have serious consequences and Harrogate Borough Council will take the appropriate action against anyone who fails in their responsibilities.”