Settlement For Barnsley Man Injured In Electrical Explosion

Electrical explosion leads to five-figure compensation

03.02.2009

A man has received a five-figure settlement after he was injured in an electrical explosion whilst training in electrical work in a quarry. He says the accident could have been avoided if he was provided with better tools for the job.

Steven Roberts was injured in July 2005 carrying out electrical testing for Bureau Veritas in a quarry in Northern Ireland.  He says a voltpen given to him to test for the presence of an electrical voltage was faulty and was not sufficient to do the job and believes that this led to his accident.

Steven said: “As part of my job I was asked to undertake checks on wires and this required the power supply to be cut off.  My colleague indicated that he had turned off the supply and I used my voltpen, which was the only equipment I had, to test whether there was a voltage before proceeding.

"The voltpen did not light up, indicating that there was no voltage, so I proceeded to fix a linking cable to the incoming wires. Unfortunately, although the lights in the room had gone out and the pen had not lit up to show voltage, the voltage was still flowing to this area.

"There was quite a severe electrical explosion causing flash burns to my hands and face and I initially thought I had been blinded. I was hospitalised and had many months of pain but I was lucky to escape with my life and owe that to my rubber boots."

Steven also developed Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Lisa Fairclough, from the work accident team at Irwin Mitchell’s Sheffield office, said: “Steven had a horrendous accident and could easily have been killed.  He came to us following a move to Barnsley for work having made little progress with his previous solicitors. He felt that a better level of protection would have been afforded by different equipment but also that the basic equipment that he had been given by his employers was in any event defective.

"I am pleased that we have managed to secure a settlement for Steven and his case serves as a reminder to employers to ensure that work equipment is regularly tested and maintained, and that it is the equipment that is suitable for the job in hand."

Irwin Mitchell took over the case from Steven’s previous solicitors only two months before expiry of the claim time limit. Despite some difficult issues and the speed at which preparatory work had to be done legal proceedings were issued against Bureau Veritas within time.  Although they denied liability a settlement of £17,750 was later agreed out of court.

Steven said: "Since the incident I have found it difficult to settle. I tried to restart my life in Barnsley but it didn’t work out.  I have now returned to Scotland and hope, now the case has concluded, that I can start to put this ordeal behind me. The accident really shook me up but the team at Irwin Mitchell has helped bring my case to a speedy and successful conclusion and I now look forward to moving on with my life."