An independent electrical contractor has pleaded guilty to breaching health and safety requirements after a young apprentice suffered an electric shock and required a skin graft.
Harrogate Magistrates Court heard on Wednesday 1 July 2015 that Mr Martin Blackburn and his apprentice had been replacing electrical hook up points at a caravan site in July 2013, when the incident occurred. Rather than isolating the entire site, Mr Blackburn had chosen to carry out the work in stages. While working on a hook up point that he believed to be isolated, the apprentice received an electric shock which resulted in him having a skin graft to his hand.
The subsequent investigation by Harrogate Borough Council established that Mr Blackburn had expected his apprentice to isolate the units. However, the instruction and supervision given by Mr Blackburn did not take into account the apprentice’s lack of experience to ensure that this was done safely. The investigation also established that the incident could have been prevented if some very simple measures had been in place, such as Mr Blackburn checking the hook up point had in fact been isolated.
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.
Councillor John Ennis, Harrogate Borough Council’s Licensing Committee Chairman said:
This incident could very easily have resulted in the death of a young person at work. Fortunately, the actual injuries were relatively minor. The electrical contractor failed in his duty to ensure the safety of his employee, particularly as this was a young inexperienced person.
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.