‘Live wire’ caused death at Chichester factory

Eastbourne Hastings Bexhill Rye Battle Herald Observer
Eastbourne Hastings Bexhill Rye Battle Herald Observer

A LIVE wire which electrocuted a 21-year-old worker at Natures Way Food in Chichester was among ‘redundant cables’.

An inquest into the death of Bradley Watts, of Manningtree, Essex is being held at Edes House in Chichester.

Bradley was working in the roof space insulating pipes for is uncle’s company, Mistley Insulation Services, in June 2011. The company was subcontracted by Danston Technical Services, which was working for Natures Way.

“It was very low risk work,” said Craig Gridlestone, director of Danston Technical Services.

“There is a lot of cabling up there. I was aware that there was some redundant cable in the loft space. At the time of my roof inspection there was no redundant cable in the walk way areas.”

Mr Gridlestone said it was ‘not unusual’ to see redundant cable.

The factory had installed a new heating and cooling system and Bradley was finishing off the process – insulating the pipes with rubber lagging.

Elisabeth Bussey-Jones, deputy assistant coroner, read a statement provided by Nicholas Erasmus, installation team supervisor at Danston Ltd who granted the permit allowing Bradley to work on the site.

“The loft space was generally tidy,” he said in his statement.

“Electrical cables were in proper cable trays. I was aware of some redundant cables in the work space but assumed it was not live. Health and safety was never taken for granted.”

David McGarvey, a processing engineer, administered CPR on Bradley after the incident. He also was called to earth the wire.

“The cable was about 18 inches from the walkway,” he said. “It was just lying there – it was very evident.”

Mr McGarvey said the lighting in the roof space was ‘very dim’.

He hypothesised that the wire ‘was safe before it became dislodged’ from the choc block, which was still holding the earth wire. He said it looked like someone had tried to put the wire back into the choc bloc because the edges of the wire were frayed, but said he did not know why there would be power to that cable.

Bradley had been working in the loft void with his friend and colleague Luke Simpson at the time of his death.

The hearing into Bradley Watts’ death continues.

Local mother pays tribute at inquest after Chichester factory death