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Construction firm fined £13,000 over electric blast

Building firm Graeme W Cheyne has been hit with a bill for £13,000 over an explosion set a joiner’s boiler suit on fire.

George Forbes suffered burns to his face and his left hand after a short circuit sparked a localised electrical blast.

The accident occurred as the 62-year-old worker of Nigg, Aberdeen, was working helping refurbish flats on Holburn Street in the city in 2008.

He tried to move an old fuse cut-out electricity power supply in order to fit new plasterboard behind it.

Unknown to Mr Forbes, the fuse cut-out was still live and connected to a 415V cable when he touched it. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation revealed that the cable was twisted, causing a short-circuit that created enough energy to melt the cable and create a small explosion.

The firm was fined £9,000 and ordered to pay Mr Forbes £4,000 in the prosecution.

Aberdeen Sheriff Court heard that while Mr Forbes recovered and returned to work a few weeks later, he was extremely lucky not to have been electrocuted.

Graeme W Cheyne (Builders) Ltd, of Sugarhouse Lane, Aberdeen, pleaded guilty to failing to provide and maintain a safe system of work for employees working on or near an electrical system, breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Etc Act 1974.

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