Monday 24 October 2016

Workers tried to save ESB trainee's life after he was electrocuted

Shane Conlan who died in an accident on ESB site in North Dublin
Shane Conlan who died in an accident on ESB site in North Dublin

An ESB apprentice electrocuted at a sub-station may have been cleaning it when he touched a live part, an inquest heard.

Shane Conlan (22), of Shanard Road, Santry, was electrocuted at the Coldwinters sub-station in Finglas on January 15, 2013.

Dublin Coroner's Court heard that marks found on a disconnect - an isolator switch - suggest he touched it while attempting to clean it. Safety measures defining the live area were not in place.

In March, the ESB was fined €250,000 at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court after pleading guilty to safety breaches.

The fourth-year apprentice was found collapsed in the sub-station by Dublin GAA player Paul Brogan shortly after 3pm. They were part of a team carrying out maintenance work.

A transformer and the "A busbar" were de-electrified but the "B busbar" was still live. It was "routine procedure" to carry out work with a live busbar overhead, the court heard.

David Sheehan, the person in charge of works on the project, said he told the team "no work above head height".

Before lunch they cleaned disconnects on the de-electrified 'A' busbar using a fibreglass ladder. Mr Sheehan said the ladder was then removed. Following lunch, he instructed Mr Conlan to check fuses at ground level.


Mr Brogan found Mr Conlan on the ground when he went into the sub-station to retrieve tools. Mr Sheehan rang 999. There was no defibrillator on site. The two men alternated CPR until paramedics arrived.

He was taken to the Mater Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival. The postmortem found he died from acute cardiac dysrhythmia due to high-voltage electrocution.

The jury returned a verdict of misadventure, recommending there should be a qualified observer to supervise work undertaken by a trainee in high-risk areas and defibrillators available.

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