Contact with Live Low Voltage Switchboard

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Alert ID: 
Description of Task: 

Location of incident The incident took place within the Engine Control Room and occurred at the rear of the 440V Switchboard, which supplies the fire pumps both having been isolated and withdrawn. The cubicle had outgoing motor terminals for the fire pump, which were isolated, but the bus bars located behind some protective Perspex sheeting had not been. There is rubber matting on the floor all the way round the rear of the switchboards. What happened During connection of a new HVAC system to the low voltage switchboard in the Engine Control Room, two persons were involved in an incident where one suffered burns to his hands and face and the other suffered from medical shock. The task was to install new circuit breakers in the low voltage switchboard. The transit was unpacked on the deck at the bottom of the cubicle to allow for cable access to the switchboard. Third Party Engineer was unpacking transit blocks using a hammer and screwdriver when he made contact with a busbar.

Lessons Identified: 

Insufficient isolation of equipment. Perspex not adequate, short of full length of Busbar- Electrical department unaware of bus bars extending below the Perspex protection.- Third Party Contractor Competence Levels assumed adequate-I nadequate Risk Assessment of task and area undertaken


Third party competency levels to be supplied to head of department prior to commencement of operation.- Risk Assessment for entering switchboard cubicles to be revised.- Similar equipment to be checked to eliminate similar lack of guarding of busbars.- Insulate any identified exposed busbars

Information source: 
Dave Thomson
Contact Details: 
Step Change in Safety
Specific Equipment: 

Rig Type: Mitsubishi MD 602 Switch Board: ABB(NEBB)

Incident consequence: 
Any Location Type
Cause of accident or incident: 
Electricity, electrical discharge, short circuit or overload