The head of the shower had somehow become live, which suggests the earth
on the shower was faulty. He was presumably by holding a tap (unless
stray capacitance was enough to do it?), and when the head fell into the
water and he was a convenient path to earth.
It sounds like there was no RCD. To make matters worse, someone had
replaced the fuse wire in the fusebox with a bit of leftover copper,
though I doubt that the correct fuse would have saved him.
I would say that the real problem was the lack of a good earth on the
shower. Another reason to DIY.
Personally, I have a 30mA RCD and have taken a 6mm^2 from the earth on
the shower to the main 10mm^2 equipotential bond on the incoming water,
just to be doubly safe. Incidentally, does anyone know if me having done
this violates the regs, provided I disconnect it before an earth loop
test is done?
Gees if you poms didn't use those horrible instant shower things stuff
like that wouldn't happen
You have delightful rules about not having a 240v outlet near the
basin for a razor or hair drier (only an isolation xformer) and pull
cords to turn the lights on and off
But you are quite happy to have 240V sitting inside a plastic box
inside the shower recess
The mind boggles really
-- remove two eyes to reply!
Yup. AND of course if you have earh bonding, and someone finds the earth
stake and hooks it over the incoming mains :)
There are many strangenesses in the safety regs. Making sure things that
you can toucjh are solidly erthaed is fine..as long as (a) they are in
fact solidly earhed and not a gian conductor amnd
(b) the other hand is not likely to touch something equally solidly live..
In the old days before earths and RCD's we used to get minor shocks off
lots of stuff due to unearthed metal cases and frayed insulation. As
long as you didn't touch something earthed, and not much was - that's
all it was - a minor shock.
It won't violate the regs, but it does seem an odd thing to do. It would
have been more logical to run your 6 mm^2 earth back to the main earth bar
in the CU - thus making a 'high integrity earth' similar to one of the
Section 607 options for earthing of circuits with high protective conductor
What's much more important (and what no-one has mentioned so far in this
thread) is the local supplementary bonding in the bathroom. That's what
_should_ have prevented the electrocution in this case. But there probably
wasn't any, judging by what we know about the general condition of the
BTW there's no need to disconnect either main or supplementary bonding when
doing earth fault loop impedance tests on final circuits within an
installation (Zs). The only time you need to disconnect the bonding is when
doing a measurement of the loop impedance external to the installation (Ze)
or when measuring the resistance of an earth electrode. See page 79 of your
None of the faults mentioned in the article would seem to be capable of causing
this - fuse type is
irrelevant as is the pull switch. Not sure what they mean by 'box behind the
For something like this to happen, the only scenario I can think of is that the
shower and its
supply pipe was not earthed, and there was a live-to-water short in the shower,
and either the
(metal) bath was earthed (to provide enough voltage gradient in the water), or
it was a plastic bath
and the victim touched an earthed tap (or plughole) while the bath water was
live. Even then it does
seem a little improbable.
I am amased that the contractor who was responsible for maintaining
the property was called in to investigate what was wrong with the
shower. That would be like asking Jarvis to investigate the cause
of the Potters Bar rail incident. As you say, this requires multiple
faults if the information as reported is accurate.
I've had a 'death at work' which was suspected electrocution
and HSE demanded an immediate inspection but didn't inquire
if the Co. were one that had done work for us previously.
Southern Electric did a major 3 phase re-wire for us and
ran out of red tailing, subsequent failure to tape up the tails
resulted in phase/neutral reversal on a lot of equipment
used by the public.
I found the fault in a routine test next day - if PartP
comes in I won't be an acceptable installer/tester and
won't have equipment made available.
But...I'm fully certified to inspect & commission Kiddie
rides and Simulators - this was done the sensible way
...a long proveable history, proper equipment, work sampling
and (of course) a good working relationship with HSE - I
call them once in while knowing they like a day out & get
myself assessed by them - nothing better than sheaves of
green paper to wave at Insurance bods.
"He told the inquest he found several faults with the shower. The pull
switch to turn it on was jammed so that it was always live, the box
behind the cord was the wrong sort and the fuse on the wall unit had the
wrong sort of wire in it.
The faults in the switch could cause a short circuit and the copper wire
in the fuse meant it would not cut off the electricity as it was
designed to, he said."
Sounds like some of the ones I've found in the past couple of years.
There is a Darwin Award about two workmen who got electrocuted in the US
when scaffolding they were carrying hit overhead power cables killing them
both. The local council sent a team out to investigate how the tragedy
occured.. two council workers picked up the scaffolding poles and... well,
you can work out the rest.
On Thu, 16 Oct 2003 23:03:31 +0000 (UTC), Michael Mcneil wrote:
Interesting to note that people like jumping to conclusions without all
of the evidence. The story does not say whether or not SE had done any
work there previously. There was, however, a clue in the coroner's
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