Companies sentenced after a worker dies from electric shock

Two companies have been served with significant fines after a 27-year-old man was electrocuted while carrying out his duties at Morgan Stanley’s Heathrow data centre.

Martin Walton was working at the Middlesex site in order to ensure power could be provided to two pieces of data storage equipment.

As part of the work, which was included in a multi-million pound infrastructure upgrade by Balfour Beatty Engineering Services Ltd (BBES), Mr Walton was required to link up an existing power substation as well as a new installation.

Another firm called Norland Managed Services Ltd (NMS) – a mechanical and electrical maintenance contractor – was also contractually responsible for managing existing parts of the site.

Ipswich Crown Court heard that BBES was overseeing the installation of a new power supply while NMS continued to manage the existing units.

However, Mr Walton, who was employed by Integrated Cable Services Ltd – a subcontractor for the project – was electrocuted when his body touched a 415V live terminal during a test.

The court heard that the incident had been preventable and was primarily due to BBES’s lack of health and safety consideration on the project, as well as NMS’s decision to grant permission for Mr Walton to work in a site area where they knew a live power supply was outside their control.

BBES pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety Work etc. Act 1974 and was fined £280,000 (£140,000 for each separate breach), as well as £42,240 in costs.

NMS meanwhile, was found guilty after an earlier trial of breaching 3(1) of the Health and Safety Work etc. Act 1974 and the company was served with a £100,000 fine, as well as £106,670 in costs.

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Nigel is the Managing Partner and Head of Litigation and Dispute Resolution in the London office of Mackrell Turner Garrett.