With SDS drills now commonplace, I bet most holes go most of the 100mm or
150mm that the drill bit allows before the inexperienced user has time to
stop. I doubt there are many forms of protection that would stop a 5kG SDS
The real question here (from our viewpoint) is whether Article P
would have been any help.
We have standards for this work. Following them would have made this
accident far less likely - you can still puncture a cable, but you
have to try pretty hard. The standards weren't followed though - the
only remaining question is whether this fitter would have been seen as
any more "competent" under Article P than a DIY installer?
Cable detectors are useful, but they're not a solution of themselves.
This rack was installed by the husband, and banning all minor DIY
except by qualified kitchen fitters is a "solution" I think few would
seriously consider. The fault was primarily, and blame-wise, with the
bad cabling and not with the rack-hanging.
I'm still unconvinced that this new legislation achieves anything.
When the professionals can deliver a crude bodge like this, it's not
the DIY installer who needs to be tied up in red tape.
On Tue, 12 Oct 2004 11:48:33 +0100, Andy Dingley wrote:
Hear, hear. I hope they can track down the installer and/or his
company and slap a manslaughter(*) charge on them or at the very least
(*) Or whatever the correct legal word is for causing such a death.
Dave. pam is missing e-mail
I'm not quite sure why the press reports make a point of not naming
the firm but given that people had got shocks or tingles off this
rack before I think that what you suggest is OTT. If it were a public
building and it came out at an inquest that the 'manager' knew of a
potential hazard and had failed to do anything about it, then it
would surely be him on trial.
Tony Bryer SDA UK 'Software to build on' http://www.sda.co.uk
Free SEDBUK boiler database browser http://www.sda.co.uk/qsedbuk.htm
A building manager should be properly trained to assess health and safety
risks as part of his overall responsibility for which he/she is paid. In a
domestic situation, the occupants are not deemed to be so qualified and may
need to rely on the competence of contractors carrying out improvement work
to determine what is safe or not.
All critics of this installation are ill informed.
The poor womans death was avoidable, as is all domestic electrocutions
All house holders know that electricity is dangerous but choose not to
have their system checked and modernised usually because of the cost.
Well here we have an example of the cost, a womans life.
A modern electrical installation to BS7671 is safe.
The choice to have one or not is a free choice, the owner of this home
chose not to.
On 12 Oct 2004 12:55:08 -0700, email@example.com (Jim) wrote:
The cable was wrongly installed by the fitter and by virtue of being
at an angle the installation was not compliant with BS7671.
However, even if it had been, the person installing the rack could, by
not being aware of the cable routing, have drilled into the side of
So while it's true that an installation to the standard can be
considered safe as far as it goes, there is nothing that will protect
those who are not aware of where to expect that cables might be.
To email, substitute .nospam with .gl
(Jim is also a critic. Socrates is a man, all men are mortal, thus
Socrates is mortal. What, dear readers, can we similarly and
syllogistically conclude about Jim? ;-)
Nah. Deliberate suicides are not avoidable; nor can extreme stupidity be
defended against under the engineering balance which the Regs (thank
gawd) represent. It'll be a sad sad day when the IEE engineering
regs-writers get replaced by CYA lawyers...
You appear to be claiming that a 60quid periodic inspection would have
found the fault which proved fatal in this case. I dispute such a claim
- I don't believe that it's standard operating procedure to measure the
potential wrt earth of every bit of metalwork in every room (or even
just in the kitchen) which isn't obviously part of an appliance. In this
case, there was a metal cutlery/utensil rack above the cooker; what
proportion of sparkies doing a periodic inspection would have thought to
measure its potential (or even wave a voltstick in its direction)?
We've noted that an RCD on the relevant circuit would've prevented this
fatality. But BS7671 doesn't necessarily require that the final circuit
on which a cooker hood sits is RCD protected. It will be if it's fed off
a downstairs ring, by virtue of the "reasonably foreseen to supply
portable appliances outside the equipotential zone" rule; but not if
it's fed off a lighting circuit (not uncommon, nothing wrong with it),
or off a radial dedicated to fixed appliances in the kitchen.
"Safe" is a relative, not an absolute, term. It's clear that (as is
usually the case with accidents in reasonably-managed situations)
multiple factors contributed. Here, they were: initial poor routing of
the cooker hood cable; failure of the householder to check for buried
cables when installing the metal rack on the wall; failure of the
occupants to react more decisively to the "tingle" they felt. We can
argue the toss about the relative contributions of these factors. But
only the first of these is a Regs-compliance issue, and that (as I've
argued above) would *not* be picked up by an after-the-fact inspection,
as the poorly routed cable was not visible. The other two factors
concern education and common sense in the general population; a purely
technical fix is not appropriate (no, not even mandating "every circuit
shall have its own RCBO" - as has been pointed out many times over the
years in this group, loss of lighting during fires causes more
fatalities and injuries than are prevented by RCD protection on lighting
On Tue, 12 Oct 2004 15:22:10 +0100, Christian McArdle wrote:
Quite, it appears that the cable was not installed to the regs, ie not
within the H or V bands from a visible fitting. The DIYer was not
aware of the problem as it developed over time as the screw chaffed
through the insulation due to small movements from the rack as it was
Who ever installed that cable not within the accepted areas carries
most of the responsiblity for this death. It's short cuts and other
slip shod work from builders or contractors (I hesitate to call them
"professionals") that tends to make me DIY.
Dave. pam is missing e-mail
From the details given, it's impossible to say if the electrical
installation was at faut or if the kitchen isntaller (or possibly DIYer)
was at fault.
The electrical cable may well have been installed correctly, but the
kitchen installer could have made the error of not realising that a
cable ran horizontally or vertically from a fitting.
If the installer was Ms Tonge herself then the error may perhaps be
understandable. OTOH I can't see how someone managed to install the rack
without electrocuting themself.
Quanto e quel cane nella vetrina (arf, arf)
Quello con coda scuotente
If the drill bit just hit the live wire you might not get a shock because
a) Quite likely holding onto plastics parts of drill
b) Possibly not touching any other earthed item.
Birds sit on live wires everyday without ill effect!
Even if the screw connected the live wire to the plate rack, and you touched the
rack, you would only get a shock if current could flow through your body to
earth. It likely would not do this if you were wearing rubber soled shoes and
standing on a non conducting dry floor.
I once rented a flat with a faulty cooker. After a while I noticed that I got a
shock if I put a pan one on of the rings whilst still holding onto a tap.
Yes but I suspect that this time she had a grip on the rack which caused
muscle contraction and then her leg may well have been forced into
contact that bit more with the earthed dishwasher.
All due to the duff electrical cable routing installation in the first
place. IMHO that is..
And had a whole house RCD been fitted she'd be around today.....
Or plastic wall plug, screw a bit too long, only touches the wire on
the last turn or two by which time you're only holding the
insulated handle of the screwdriver. Still, you'd think the installer
would give the rack a bit of a tug just to make sure it was firmly
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