Two electricians suffered facial burns in a flash fire when they attempted to carry out work on a switchboard during work to replace a temporary generator with a mains supply for the landing stage at the Liverpool Pier Head ferry terminal in April 2009.

The proprietor of Hayes Electrical and Building Services Ltd of Sefton permitted his employees to install a new fuse into the switchboard whilst it was live. Just as this was being done an explosion occurred accompanied by intense heat, inflicting severe burns to one man’s face which required 4 days in hospital. His colleague also suffered facial burns.

An HSE inspector commented: “One of the workers suffered severe burns in the flash fire but luckily his glasses prevented his eyes from being more badly damaged. He still needed 3 months off work to recover and gets flashbacks of the incident.

The proprietor should simply never have allowed the work to go ahead without the power being cut. The installation and maintenance instructions for the switchboard clearly state work should not be carried out while the electricity supply is live. It would have been perfectly reasonable to carry out the work between ferry sailings when the electricity supply at the terminal could have been switched off. That way neither of the employees would have been put at risk.”

The proprietor of Hayes Electrical admitted a breach of the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 and was fined £8,000 plus £4,766 in costs. 2nd September 2011