Bermuda Worker's Death Ruled a "Misadventure"

July 1, 2004
A coroner's inquest held in Bermuda found that the death of an engineer following an electrical explosion at a Belco substation in Southampton was due to a series of "misadventures," including his testing of a live electrical cable instead of de-energized one and a supervisor's failure to follow proper company procedures.

Malik Blyden suffered first and second degree burns after an explosion on July 28, 2003 at the Belco sub-station on the Railway Trail. Blyden was burned over nearly 50 percent of his body and eventually succumbed to his injuries.

According to Acting Magistrate Justin Williams, Blyden's death was caused by a series of errors, the final one being when Blyden in an attempt to test a new electrical cable by running voltage through the cable - inserted a test probe into a live buzz bar rather than the dead bar used for such testing. The two bars were color-coded so that workers could easily determine which bar was "live" and which one was "dead."

In addition, Blyden was not wearing safety gloves that could have minimized his exposure to electrical shock and burn. Williams also determined that Blyden's supervisor, underground foreman Gladwyn Wolffe, prematurely removed a safety lock and failured to follow Belco standard operating procedures for testing electrical cables.

About the Author

Sandy Smith

Sandy Smith is the former content director of EHS Today, and is currently the EHSQ content & community lead at Intelex Technologies Inc. She has written about occupational safety and health and environmental issues since 1990.

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