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Live cable mix-up ends in tragedy

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An apprentice electrician working on a council-owned flat in Bolton was killed instantly when he touched live 246V wires from a mains supply. According to the inquest, Richard Hardgrave, of Mellor Grove, Bolton, failed to correctly test the power supply to a fuse box at a property based in Horwich in May last year.

The young trainee, who was three years into a four-year course, had been working for Bolton at Home, the organisation that manages Bolton council's housing stock, for 12 months. He was electrocuted as he fitted an isolator to the fuse box in the hall enabling the outside power supply to be cut off. It should have been tested first, the inquest concluded.

HSE inspector Steve Frost said the type of double fuse box, which was 40-years old, was unusual and could be confusing. He added: “No one was aware of the state of the circuit. Electricity was still going into the unit.”

Mr Harvey also told the inquest that job sheets given to the team to outline proposed work were “vague”. The inquest was told that Bolton at Home has made a series of changes since Richard's death. Electricians no longer work on mains supplies outside and all isolators are now fitted by suppliers.

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