Employee received a shock whilst touching a metal fence

A contractor's employee touched a metal mesh fence against which a live cable end was resting and received a 415 Volt electric shock. This occurred after a Permit to Work irregularity by the host company, inadequate isolation of the job by an electrical contractor's electrician, and re-energising of the circuit by the host company. Investigation of the incident revealed a failure to properly manage the permit to work system over a period of 14 months.


The host company was prosecuted under the Health and Safety At Work etc. Act 1974, Section 3, Sub Section 1, and fined £10,000. The electrical contractor was also prosecuted.


Those in control of work on electrical equipment or installations should ensure it is carried out in a manner that, so far as is reasonably practicable, does not lead to danger. Precautions should be taken to ensure that equipment that has been electrically isolated cannot be reenergised if danger will result.

The downloadable HSE booklet Electricity at work - safe working practices provides guidance on safe working practices.

Is this page useful?

Updated 2023-01-09