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Mitie fined £300k

Mitie Engineering Services was fined £300,000 this week following the death of Michael Adamson who was electrocuted after coming into contact with a live conductor in the cable on which he was working.

Mitie was fined £300,000 by Dundee Sheriff Court after being found guilty of charges under Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 at a hearing on Tuesday 14 October.

Two company directors and the project manager were acquitted of charges under Section 37 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

In August 2005, 26-year-old Michael Adamson, a qualified electrician, was working at the JJB Sports Centre and Retail Outlet 05, which was under construction at the Gallagher Retail Park in Dundee. He was installing cables, fixtures and fittings when the incident happened.

Despite being labeled 'not in use', the cable he was working on was live; it had not been safely and securely isolated from the electricity supply.

Mr Adamson was not provided with the necessary test equipment to prove the cable was dead, nor the means to securely isolate the circuit.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is now reminding the electrical contracting industry to be aware of the tragic consequences which can result when safe working procedures are not practiced when working on live electrical systems.

HSE Principal Inspector Jim Skilling, said: 'The Health and Safety Executive has found that across the electrical contracting industry there is widespread violation of the safe working practices.

'Each year there are around 2000 incidents at work involving electrical injury, including electric shock, and about 20 of these result in fatalities. The industry's complacency in accepting dangerous practices is startling.

'Michael Adamson's death could have been prevented had his employer ensured that safe working practices were being carried out in accordance with the company's own written procedures. Managers and supervisors in this industry must take active steps to ensure that their electricians work safely.'

HSE has since supported SELECT (Scotland's trade association for the electrical, electronics and communications systems industry), Electrical Safety Council, Electrical Contractors' Association, National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contractors, and the Institution of Engineering and Technolog, in publishing targeted guidance on safe isolation procedures in the electrical contracting industry.

However, the information on safe working practices in this guidance is not new and was well known to the electrical contracting industry for a long time prior to Mr Adamson's death, the HSE said.