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ESB fined €250,000 after 22-year-old apprentice died after being electrocuted in Finglas

Shane Conlon died after he was electrified by a live apparatus in January 2013.

File Photo
File Photo
Image: Laura Hutton via Photocall Ireland

THE ESB HAS been fined €250,000 over a workplace accident which led to the death of 22-year-old ESB worker Shane Conlon.

The 4th year apprentice electrician from Santry was electrocuted while working inside a cubicle in Finglas on 15 January 2013.

The court heard from Mark Madigan, an inspector with the Health and Safety Authority, this afternoon.

Madigan said the workers were told on the morning that some areas were live but there was no flag to show that one side of the cubicle was live. The live apparatus was about 3.6 metres above the ground.

Conlon was told to do work on the ground level of the cubicle. Madigan said he either touched off the live disconnect or electricity arched over.

There was no indication to let him know where it was live so we suspect he just got confused.

Conlon’s sister Lorna read out an emotional victim impact statement in court where she described “the utter shock” her family felt when her little brother died.

“He went to work doing what he loved but instead of seeing him later that day we were told Shane died,” she said.

We cannot put into words what this meant for our family – you could always rely on Shane to be there. He always had a huge smile on his face, it was infectious and he could light up a room.

She explained to the court that due to personal circumstances, she and her brother were brought up by their grandparents.

She said the shock hit her granddad’s heart and within months he was taken into hospital and given just months to live. However, she added that he defied that doctors and lived for another year.

We hope that lessons will be learned by the ESB so no family has to go through what we did.

‘Never happen again’

The HSA inspector told the court that the person in charge of the crew that day was very capable but had never received training on working in a tight cubicle like this. He requested a manual but was not given one.

Judge Martin Nolan stated, “It seems electricity was live in one part of the working area and dead in other parts of the working area.

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“It seems he somehow came in contact with the live flow of electricity. It seems the man in charge didn’t sufficiently designate the live area. Mr Conlon was aware where the live area was but during his work he came into contact.”

ESB signed a guilty plea to a breach of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 at the District Court last December.

Representation for ESB today stated, “No single person can now go into such a place and if they are one centimetre above the ground they have to be observed.

Judge Nolan added, “This matter is a tragic accident – it was a tragedy that fell on Mr Shane Conlon. He was a bright enthusiastic young man who loved his occupation. He was loved family member.

ESB have complied totally – hopefully something like this will never happen again.

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