Graeme W Cheyne found at fault for joiner’s burns after HSE investigation

A Scottish building firm has been fined £9,000 after a power supply short-circuited and exploded, causing burns to the face and left hand of a joiner. 

Aberdeen-based company Graeme W Cheyne was yesterday found guilty of failing to provide and maintain a safe system of work for employees working on or near an electrical system after an HSE investigation.

George Forbes, 62, was refurbishing flats in Aberdeen in November 2008 when he attempted to move a power supply unit known as a fuse cut-out. The unit was still live and connected to a 415 volt cable when Forbes touched it, causing a short-circuit and small explosion that burnt his hand and face.

The firm was ordered to pay Forbes £4,000. He was able to return to work a few weeks later.

Liz Stendan, inspector for the HSE, 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, 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,” she said.