Employees endangered by high voltage live electrics left exposed at factory…
A plastics manufacturer based in Suffolk has been fined £10,000 after serious electrical hazards were discovered at their production plant.
Health and Safety Executive (HSE) officials visited the site on 9 and 10 October 2011 and found a series of safety failings associated with the construction and maintenance of electrical systems after originally having travelled to the factory in Sudbury to check up on another unrelated matter.
The inspectors eventually discovered a range of electrical hazards at the site including a live 400 volt cable hanging from a wall, a broken socket with live 400 volt cabling lying coiled up on the floor and exposed wiring hanging from switches and spurs with live 230 volt wiring.
Bury St Edmunds Magistrates’ Court heard that the HSE had served three Prohibition Notices on the company ordering that urgent modifications be made to the electrical safety protocols at the factory. The magistrates were informed that the various hazards at the site posed a very real, dangerous and immediate threat to employees.
The plastics manufacturer was fined a total of £10,000 in addition to costs of £5,930 after pleading guilty to breaching Regulation 4 of the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989.
HSE inspector Saffron Turnell commented after the hearing had concluded:
“The state of the electrical systems at the company was simply appalling and it is only a matter of luck that nobody had been injured or electrocuted.
“Employers have a duty to ensure the workplace is a safe environment and this must include electrical installations, whether or not the work carried out at their premises directly involves electricity.
“Ignoring health and safety at work legislation puts workers’ lives at risk and it is only right that HSE takes enforcement action.”
Author: Julian Roberts
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