Electrocuted boy's mother calls for improvements
29 June 2023
THE MOTHER of a seven-year-old boy who died after being electrocuted in a pub beer garden is urging the hospitality sector to make sure their outdoor electrical equipment is safe.
Danielle Jones’ son, Harvey Tyrrell, was electrocuted after he touched unsafe lighting in the garden of a pub in Harold Wood, Essex in September 2018.
Danielle, from Romford, is calling on pubs, restaurants, and other hospitality venues to make sure electrical installations and equipment used in outdoor spaces are safe this summer.
Great Britain’s workplace regulator, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), is working with the hospitality industry and local authority enforcement officers to increase awareness of safety standards.
HSE says venues should arrange for a competent person to carry out electrical installation work, only using lights and heaters specifically designed for outdoor use, and regularly checking equipment for damage or water ingress. The fixed installation and electrical appliances should be maintained in accordance with the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989.
Danielle said, “People who run pubs and other hospitality venues should regularly check their electrics, especially as pub beer gardens are getting busier at this time of the year.
“I’m still hearing of other incidents involving unsafe electrics in pubs and this needs to stop – I don’t want any other family to go through what happened to us.
“Harvey was such a beautiful little soul, a cheeky chappie and one of a kind and what sadly happened to him could have been prevented.”
The pub owner where Harvey died pleaded guilty to Harvey’s manslaughter and to stealing electricity from an unmetered supply and was jailed for 9 years in 2021.
Mark Dawson, HSE’s head of local authority and safety unit said, “The hospitality sector will be looking forward to a busy summer period. Those responsible for outdoor spaces need to make sure electrical equipment is in good condition, safe to use and regularly checked.”
The information below is for the installation and use of plug-in electrical equipment. Anyone selecting, using, or maintaining such equipment should be competent to do so.
Before installing any outdoor equipment:
- Consider using extra low voltage or solar equipment to provide a safer installation
- Only select equipment that is suitable for outdoor use
- Check that equipment is not damaged particularly if it has been stored from previous use.
- Ensure that the existing electrical installation is in good condition and compatible with the equipment to be installed. This will include being able to accommodate the electrical load so that circuits and sockets are not overloaded.
- Ensure that equipment is only connected to a socket protected by a suitable RCD.
- Ensure that sockets are in good condition, suitable for use outside if appropriate and in a location where they won’t be accessed or damaged by customers.
- Remove equipment from its packaging before installation.
- Switch off the electrical supply before connecting
During installation and when using the equipment:
- Read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions and retain for future reference
- Ensure that equipment is installed in locations where it will not be damaged and away from flammable materials and decorations.
- Check frequently for any damage to equipment and replace failed lamps as appropriate.
- Always switch off before replacing lamps and use the correct replacement lamp
- Keep equipment packaging for any future storage. If equipment is stored ensure that it is not in damp or excessively hot conditions
Any permanent fixed installation of equipment that does not require sockets, and the installation of sockets should be undertaken and thereafter maintained by a competent electrician.
Further information on electrical safety is on HSE’s website.
While HSE doesn’t regulate the hospitality sector, any concerns about electrical safety should go to the relevant local authority.