An electrician who suffered serious burns to his hand after he fell and landed on a live electrical board has received compensation after help from his union.

The Unite the Union member from Southport hasn’t been able to return to his work as an electrician due to injuries to his hand and nightmares following the accident in 2008.

He was asked to assess an electrical fault at a local primary school by his employer A D Antrobus on the day of the accident. He was told to access the board whilst it was still live so that parts could be ordered without disrupting the school's electricity supply. It was planned that work on the fault would start immediately when the school day came to a close at 3.30pm.

Severe burns to hands

As he was assessing the board he slipped and his left hand came into contact with it. He was immediately shocked and the current stuck his hand to the board. He was only able to get free by placing his foot on the wall and ripping his hand away.

He was severely burned and his arm was in a splint for 14 weeks. His hand has healed but he still suffers from limited movement.

After 45 years as an electrician the 66-year-old is now too traumatised to undertake any electrical work, even around his own home. Before the injury he had hoped to continue working beyond 65 but as a result of the accident he had to retire early.

Thompsons Solicitors made claim for compensation

He contacted his trade union, Unite the Union, which instructed its lawyers Thompsons Solicitors, to investigate a claim for compensation.

A D Antrobus denied liability but settled the claim out of court for £57,000.

The Unite member said: “I knew that accessing the electrical board was risky but it was normal practice at this firm to work in this way. I had received my orders so to speak and I was carrying them out.

“When the shock began I knew I had seconds to get my hand off the board otherwise I would die. I have no idea how I managed to move my leg to rip my hand away but I’ve no doubt that that action saved my life.

“Since the accident I’ve not been able to go near any electrical work, even at home. After 45 years as an electrician it feels strange that I can’t do it any more. We received exceptional help from Unite and Thompsons Solicitors who handled our case with professionalism and care.”

Electrical board should have been switched off before any inspection work began

Paul Finegan, regional secretary at Unite the Union said: “This member felt compelled by his employer to work in a way which was highly dangerous. Cutting corners to save disruption to the school risked our member being killed.”

Sam Ledgerd from Thompsons Solicitors added: “Our client is lucky to be alive. His employers put him in an extremely dangerous position. This electrical board should have been switched off before any inspection work began. A D Antrobus needs to look again at its working practices.”