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Firms fined after Bristol man electrocuted

28 February 2013

A Bristol property development firm has been prosecuted after a plumber was electrocuted while installing a washing machine.

Danny Edwards, 23, from Fishponds, Bristol, was killed while working on the appliance in a kitchen at Pollacks House in Percival Road, Clifton, Bristol on 19 March 2008.

During the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecution of Mr Edwards’ employers Birakos Enterprises Limited, Bristol Magistrates’ Court heard the socket that powered the washing machine was wired incorrectly.

It is thought that when father-of-one Mr Edwards was working on the machine, he touched a copper water pipe and the back of the machine simultaneously, causing the massive electric shock.

Despite the kitchen’s electrics being signed off as safe by the electrical division of Birakos Enterprises Limited, it was discovered the live and earth wires had been put into the socket incorrectly, meaning the washing machine became electrically live when plugged in.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Steven Frain said:

"Danny Edwards should have been protected by his employers. Instead he was allowed to work on a machine in which a socket was obviously wired incorrectly.

"The fault should have been found during testing but this fault was left unresolved and ultimately led to the death of this young father."

Birakos Enterprises Limited of Clifton Wood House, Clifton Wood Road, Bristol was found guilty of breaching Regulation 4 (1) and 16 of the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 and Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined a total of £125,000 and ordered to pay costs of £50,000.

Notes to editors

  1. The Health and Safety Executive is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. It aims to prevent death, injury and ill health. It does so through research, information and advice, promoting training, new or revised regulations and codes of practice, and working with local authority partners by inspection, investigation and enforcement.
  2. Section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 states: General duties of employers to their employees. (1)It shall be the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all his employees.
  3. Regulation 4 (1) of the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 states: All systems shall at all times be of such construction as to prevent, so far as is reasonably practicable, danger.

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