An East Midlands foundry (‘the foundry’) has been fined £60,000 and ordered to pay costs of more than £1,000 by Derbyshire Magistrates’ Court after two employees suffered serious burns from an electrical flashover.
Steven Micklewright of Kangs Solicitors sets out the circumstances.
The Circumstances | Kangs National Health and Safety Team
- In late 2016, two employees were working to reinstate the power supply to one of the furnaces after repair works.
- After replacing the fuses, they shut the fuse panel door, which engaged the interlock, and tried to close the main switch.
- As this would not operate, they opened the panel door and decided to bypass the interlock which resulted in an electrical flashover.
- Both employees suffered serious burns requiring surgery.
- Health and Safety Executive discovered that, at the time of the incident, the foundry did not maintain:
- Any electrical safety rules
- Safe systems of work or a permit system
- Recorded systems or rules for working with electricity
- Any method of risk assessment
- Additionally, the foundry allowed employees to work on live conductors without consideration of the conditions which are stipulated in law.
The Relevant Health and Safety Law | Kangs Regulatory Law Advisors
Electricity at Work Regulations 1989.
Regulation 4(3) states:
‘Every work activity, including operation, use and maintenance of a system and work near a system, shall be carried out in such a manner as not to give rise, so far as is reasonably practicable, to danger’.
Regulation 14 states:
No person shall be engaged in any work activity on or so near any live conductor (other than one suitably covered with insulating material so as to prevent danger) that danger may arise unless
(a) it is unreasonable in all the circumstances for it to be dead; and
(b) it is reasonable in all the circumstances for him to be at work on or near it while it is live; and
(c) suitable precautions (including where necessary the provision of suitable protective equipment) are taken to prevent injury.
The Hearing | Electrical Regulations | Kangs Regulatory Solicitors
The foundry pleaded guilty, was fined £60,000 and ordered to pay costs of more than £1,000.
HSE Inspector Leigh Stanley said:
“Those in control of work have a responsibility to devise safe methods of working and to provide the necessary information, instruction and training to their workers in the safe system of working. If a suitable safe system of work had been in place prior to the incident, the injuries sustained by the employees could have been prevented.”
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