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Kenard Engineering Ltd fined £10,000 after apprentice thrown to ground in electric shock

A Dartford firm has been fined £10,000 after a 17-year-old apprentice was thrown several feet to the floor after being struck with a bolt of electricity from faulty wiring.

The youngster suffered problems to a disc in his back and numbness after the incident at Kenard Engineering Company Ltd in Dartford, but has since returned to work.

Magistrates in the town heard the apprentice engineer was helping a maintenance worker to move a pillar-mounted crane on June 15 last year.

He climbed a ladder to plug in computer equipment in a cable tray socket.

But when the worker's hand touched the cable tray on top of the pillar, the tray ‘earthed’ him. At the same time, the pillar he was holding on to for balance became live as a wire had been connected wrongly into the earth.

The youngster then fell around nine feet to the floor.

"This was a needless injury to a young and inexperienced worker" HSE inspector Rob Hassell

The Health and Safety Executive found that Kenard Engineering had failed to ensure their working systems were safe by allowing someone without the proper competence and experience to wire up the crane.

The firm had an electrical specialist moving and installing the computer machines but it was customary for employees to move and wire in the cranes.

Kenard Engineering Company Ltd, of Green Street Green Road, was fined £10,000 and told to pay nearly £2,000 in costs after admitting breaching an electricity at work regulation.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Rob Hassell said: "This was a needless injury to a young and inexperienced worker.

"It could have been avoided by Kenard Engineering by simply ensuring that electrical work, particularly three-phase electrics, was carried out by suitably qualified personnel.

"Working with electricity is a high risk operation and fatalities do occur. All companies need to ensure that they identify three-phase electrical work within their operations and take suitable precautions when planning maintenance work."

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