by , on September 4, 2015

Bayer CropScience Limited  and Holmes E & M Services Ltd pled guilty in court and were fined in June 2015 over an electrical burn incident that happened in July 2012.

The accident occurred on a Bayer CropScience chemical site . The 29-year-old employee of electrical contractor Holmes E & M Services was installing a power monitoring module when someone drilled into the back side of the cubicle he was working in. That action caused an electrical flashover (arc flash), which caused the employee to receive burns on his arms, hands, and face.

Neither company had previously provided an assessment of risks or of control measures for this job. The accident most likely would have been prevented if it had adequate supervision and a safe work system in place.  Bayer is a strong supporter of NFPA 70E in the US. Sounds like the worker was in a cabinet, which could produce arc energy without PPE.  This is a great example of why you wear the PPE EVERY TIME.  He might not have done anything wrong, but the drilling in the back of the cabinet, a badly insulated wire, a loose connection, whiskering, rodents and many other causes can contribute to significant injury.

The Health and Safety Executive is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety.

Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 states: “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.”  This is the same as the US requirement called the “general duty clause” under which 40% of all citations fall.  Following NFPA 70E does not prevent all of the incidents but could easily have prevented this injury.  Wearing the PPE when exposed to arc flash potential is key.

Our electrical safety training at e-Hazard covers these hazards and is available in a Train the Trainer version.  We have three companies in the UK using these materials adapted to the UK workplace and standards but using NFPA 70E as the base until there are EU standards dealing with all the best practices.


Hugh Hoagland
About author:
Hugh Hoagland is the foremost tester of clothing and PPE exposed to electrical arcs and is an arc flash expert. Read more about Hugh.

1 Comment on "Arc Flash Incident in UK – Companies Found Guilty"

Robert LeRoy - 4 September 2015 Reply

Thanks. It's hard to find reported incidences outside the US and Canada but we all know its happening.

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