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RH v (1) Optimum Technical Services (2) SP Power Systems (2022)

News | Thu 30th Jun, 2022

Johnathan Payne successfully defended Optimum Technical Services following a 5-day trial on liability in Liverpool County Court.  The claim was heard by William Waldron QC. 

RH brought a claim against his employer (Optimum) and SP Power Systems (the electrical statutory provider) in relation to injuries he sustained whilst jointing electrical cables in the street in Liverpool.  RH sustained serious injuries when he applied test equipment to an electrical cable which he considered to be either a low voltage cable or an abandoned high voltage cable.  Unfortunately, the cable carried 11,000 volts and he induced an arc explosion which rendered him serious injury.  The cable trench included cables of 11kV and 33kV.  RH was very fortuitous not to have been killed.

RH brought a claim against his employer on the basis of an unsafe system of work and against SP Power Systems based on the fact that they had produced a misleading electrical plan showing a cable which was ‘abandoned’ (despite it being live).

The claim was of interest in that RH was an extremely experienced jointer of electrical cables who had extensive history of jointing low and high voltage cables uneventfully for nearly 30 years. 

The Court heard from three experts in relation to the industry standards applicable to cable identification and jointing.   

The claim failed.  RH was deemed to be the author his own misfortune.  He had been extensively trained and there was a strict hierarchy of cable identification for him to follow.  He did not adopt that system.  The systems of work adopted by Optimum were considered to be safe and there was nothing more which could have been done by the employer to keep the experienced employee safe.

Johnathan was instructed by Nicola Smith of Kennedys, Manchester.   

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