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A coating and treatment company in Swavesey, Cambridgeshire has been fined for safety failings after an employee
suffered an electric shock.
A machine operator at the firm received an electric shock whilst checking new cables on a hardening machine that had recently been maintained, sustaining open wounds to his forearm and left palm and burns to his left arm and knee.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the company had failed to impose adequate safe working procedures relating to the operation, use and maintenance of an electrical system and work near an electrical system. The company was fined £3,500 and ordered to pay £5,382.70 in costs.
HSE Inspector Alison Ashworth, said: "Work with or near electricity is dangerous. This incident could have been prevented if the company had identified the risk and acted to control it. They could have prevented access to the live parts of the cables, insulated them or ensured that stored electrical energy had been discharged. The HSE will not hesitate to take action where there is the risk of serious harm to people at work."
More details at the HSE Website
A Hertfordshire contracting company and its managing director have been prosecuted for safety failings
after a worker received an electric shock from a live junction box during poorly planned maintenance work in London.
Westminster Magistrates' Court heard that his employer Fras Contractors Limited could and should have done more to protect the worker as he attempted to repair an external flood light.
The Health and Safety Executive presented evidence that the routine job was flawed in a number of ways.
Firstly, a ladder was placed on top of storage boxes underneath the junction box unit. These should have been moved to make space.
Secondly, the cover of the junction box was removed before the electrical circuit within was isolated. As a result the worker received an electric shock when he touched the live junction box with his left hand.
Adam Fras pleaded guilty to breaching regulation 14 of the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 in relation to the incident following the HSE investigation. He was fined £1,000 and ordered to pay £1,000 in costs.
Fras Contractors Limited, of Station Road, Smallford, St Albans, pleaded guilty to breaching regulation 4(1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005. It was fined £1,500 with costs of £1,000.
After the hearing, HSE inspector Jack Wilby said: "Adam Fras is a qualified electrician who really should have known better. He and his firm ignored the essentials, in this instance isolating the power and ensuring a ladder was used in a safe manner. As a result the worker was placed in totally unnecessary danger and he very nearly paid with his life.”
A bed and breakfast operator in Harrogate has been hit with a £5,000 fine after being prosecuted by the
local authority over a string of electrical safety failures.
According to Harrogate News, the owner of a bed and breakfast accommodation in the town was ordered to pay the penalty – as well as costs of £2,090 – by Harrogate Magistrates’ Court last month. Magistrates expressed concern about the business’ failure to resolve the relevant safety issues.
An inspection of the premises by Harrogate Borough Council and the Health and Safety Executive uncovered a number of electrical problems and an improvement notice was served. However, the issues highlighted were not resolved and the matter subsequently proceeded to court.
“Businesses must make sure that their electrical systems are maintained in a safe condition. Had this owner complied with the improvement notice then they wouldn’t have had to pay this hefty fine,” said Cllr Stuart Martin, chair of the Harrogate council’s licensing committee. “Action will be taken against those businesses neglecting to maintain their premises in a safe condition.”
Hundreds of second-hand electrical goods have been checked by Liverpool trading standards officers in
a drive to ensure safety for bargain-hunters.
A three-month project has seen them inspect premises throughout the city which sell second hand goods to ensure that unsafe items are not being sold.
A total of 106 shops were inspected including charity stores, house clearance businesses, antique shops and ‘cash for goods’ national chains.
About 1000 items were checked, including nearly 700 electrical goods, and 68 were seized for not complying with safety requirements.
Among the goods seized were two electric fires, a fridge, coffee-maker, a foot spa and lamps.
Councillor Tim Moore, Liverpool City Council cabinet member for the environment and climate change, said: “This exercise was not just for the benefit of the customers, it was also to help the traders. It was not about trying to catch them out but to help them be more aware of what they need to do to make sure the goods they sell are safe and that their businesses comply with all the relevant legislation.”
The project was partly funded through a grant from the Fire Safety Fund which is part of the Electrical Safety Council.
Two recent pieces of news further underlined the role of portable appliance testing and its role in fire prevention.
The latest annual Fire Statistics Great Britain, 2010/2011 further reinforced the role of faulty appliances and leads as the main cause of accidental fires in other buildings (non dwellings).
The report showed that, In 20010/11, faulty appliances and leads were the cause of 4,400 accidental fires in non-residential buildings, a figure that represents 25% of all such fires.
Over the period 2000 and 2011 (excluding 2010 for which no breakdown is available), each year faulty appliances and leads were identified as the cause of between 25% and 32% of accidental fires in non dwelling type buildings.
To help overcome such problems in domestic premises, the Electrical Safety Council (ESC) has recently run a workshop on electrical fire safety for the Fire and Rescue Services (FRS). The London-based event attracted 38 delegates from 25 FRS – representing over half of the entire FRS in England – with officials from the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) ‘Fire Kills’ campaign also in attendance.
Phil Buckle, Director General of the ESC, said: “The FRS undertake a range of fire prevention activities, often with the focus on the vulnerable groups – such as pensioners, children and people on low income – who are also our priority audiences.
“By enabling the Fire and Rescue Services to extend their understanding of electrical fires, we help them develop key electrical safety messages to communicate to householders and, hopefully, improve the accuracy of fire reporting. This in turn will enhance statistical data on electrical-related fires and assist us in determining how best to reduce them.”
The Electrical Safety Council Continues to improve homes working in conjunction with various organizations to offer over 80k in funding shared between 662 vulnerable households. Work completed under the grant scheme can include upgrading earthing, consumer units and the provision for portable appliance testing.
Continuing the recent theme of faulty appliances and the associated dangers of fire, we came across a report that
faulty or misused electrical equipment caused more than 200 fires in homes in Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes
last year, leading to 26 injuries.
Now Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service and the Electrical Safety Council are campaigning to urge householders to take action so that they don't become one of this year's statistics.
Faulty plugs and wiring, and electrical equipment such as hair straighteners accidentally left on, are among the numerous and often unnoticed fire hazards in the typical home. In addition, many sockets could still be overloaded with space heaters and electric blankets because of the cold weather.
Chris Bailey, head of Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service's community safety team, said: "Fires in the home
can be devastating, but many could have been prevented if people had simply unplugged a piece of equipment
after using it or not tried to run too many items off an adapter.
"For example, during a recent home safety check, our staff found 14 plugs attached to a single 13-amp wall socket. Three adapters had been connected to each other, and if it wasn't already enough of a fire hazard, there were no smoke alarms in the home and the whole lot had been covered with a bean bag to make it look tidier!"
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