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October 28, 2015

UK contractors fined over Morgan Stanley data centre death

News: Balfour Beatty and Norland Managed Services fined £380,000.

By Joao Lima

Contractors have been found guilty of negligence following the 2010 death of an electrical worker at a Morgan Stanley data centre in the UK.

A court in Ipswich reached the verdict last week, five years after Mr Martin Walton’s, 27, from Blackhall Colliery, Cleveland, forehead came in contact with live 415V electrical terminals.

The court has issued fines of £380,000 against London-based Balfour Beatty (£280,000) and CBRE Group subsidiary company Norland Managed Services (£100,000), according to UK government body Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Balfour Beatty (BBSE) was contracted to upgrade Morgan Stanley’s data centre in Heathrow. Facilities manager Norland (NMS) was in control of the site as a mechanical and electrical maintenance contractor.

Mr Walton was carrying out cabling works as a subcontracted employee by Integrated Cables when he was electrocuted.

HSE inspector Loraine Charles said: "Although BBES claimed to have been under pressure from a difficult and demanding client, they cannot be excused for having lost sight of the need for the effective control of risks arising from the work being carried out under their control at this data centre.

"Permit to work systems were operated poorly or not at all. Not one person involved in the work at the time of the accident had an accurate overall understanding of the work being carried out and, as a consequence, Martin Walton and others were unknowingly working in the vicinity of exposed live electrical terminals.

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"NMS, who were operating an effective permit to work system in relation to the equipment under their own control, made no effort to ensure that the work they permitted did not create risk at the point at which it interacted with equipment under BBES control."

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