Last reviewed 3 August 2022

B&M Retail Ltd and an electrical contracting company, Daker Ltd, have been fined after an electrician suffered serious burns to 15% of his body when he was caught in an explosion at a warehouse in Liverpool.

On 22 September 2018, the electrician was using a metal spanner to repair an electrical fault at the warehouse in Speke. The spanner he was using came into contact with a live busbar (metallic strip) linked to the power distribution causing an electrical explosion.

Having sustained serious injuries which included burns to his arms, hands, thighs, legs and face, he was placed in an induced coma for two weeks and had to undergo several skin grafts. He was unable to work for five months.

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation discovered that the electrician, who was employed by Daker Ltd, had been attempting to connect a generator to B&M’s Low Voltage supply in order to allow the company to operate some of its core site functions whilst high voltage maintenance was being undertaken.

This work was complex, involving several contractors and required co-ordination of different working parties with specific time limited requirements. However, HSE discovered that there was insufficient planning between parties beforehand, including who was in charge of each site, co-ordination of work and exchange of relevant documentation.

Daker Ltd’s work methods fell well below the required standards, Liverpool Crown Court was told, while B&M had failed to appoint a suitably competent person to plan and carry out the work to connect temporary generators to their distribution board at the premises.

The retailer pleaded guilty to breaching s.2 (1) and s.3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £1 million and ordered to pay costs of £4978. Daker also pleaded guilty to breaching s.2 (1) of the 1974 Act and was fined £100.