Mining company fined £3.6m after electricians suffer severe burns

The owners of Boulby Mine in Saltburn-by-the-Sea were fined £3.6 million and ordered to pay costs of £185,000 following an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Cleveland Potash Limited (CPL) own the mine, which extracts organic fertiliser called Polyhalite. Teesside Crown Court heard that on the 3 August 2016 a contract electrician sustained severe burns from an 11,000-volt electrical system. Unbeknownst to him, he had placed a vacuum cleaner nozzle into a live electrical chamber. He had to be air lifted to Newcastle hospital specialist burns unit, where he was put in an induced coma for 10 days.

On the 12 February 2019, another electrical contractor touched a live conductor on a 415-volt electrical system whilst carrying out electrical testing works and suffered severe burns. He was hospitalised for six days.

The HSE discovered shortcomings from the owner of the mine in risk assessment, planning of works, and shortfalls in issuing warnings about which components of the electrical systems the two electricians were working were still live.

Cleveland Potash Limited (CPL) of Boulby Mine, Loftus, Saltburn-by-the-Sea, Cleveland pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) and two counts of Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.