Could this have been prevented with PAT Testing?

£3,000 fine after worker suffers electric shock

A Cannock company has been fined a total of £3,000 after one of its employees suffered a serious electric shock from one of its machines.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted Hickman Engineering Ltd after Ben Roberts (21) from Cannock was taken to hospital suffering from burns to his legs, chest, fingers and wrist.

The steel fabrications company, of North Street, Cannock, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulations 4(2) and 6(a) of the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989. As well as the fine, it was also ordered to pay £1,500 costs.

Stafford Magistrates Court heard how on 11 August 2009, Mr Roberts was working as a labourer at the site. He was helping to manually load the saw before his colleague cut a length of metal handrail. He was not involved in the operation of the machine, which wasn’t even switched on at the time, yet he still suffered an electric shock.

HSE’s investigation discovered that the saw’s electrical cable had been unsuitably repaired with tape, reducing the protection and strength of the wiring. An independent engineering firm also investigated and found that corroded earth connections may also have played a part.

The outer protective sheath was likely damaged, exposing the inner wires. There were also other electrical deficiencies with the saw that posed a danger as well as metal filings on the floor of the workshop which may have contributed to the shock.

Following the hearing HSE inspector Wayne Owen said:

“Ben Roberts was very lucky as faulty wiring and electricity can kill. Every year there are around 1,000 incidents reported to HSE involving electric shocks or burns, around 30 of them fatal.

“One of the main causes of incidents involving electricity, as it was in this case, is the use of poorly-maintained equipment.

“The cable was too long, allowing it to droop onto the workshop floor without any protection, where metal filings were present. The design of the machine was not suitable for the conditions of the workshop, and in many respects this was something just waiting to happen.”

A Cannock company has been fined a total of £3,000 after one of its employees suffered a serious electric shock from one of its machines.The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted Hickman Engineering Ltd after Ben Roberts (21) from Cannock was taken to hospital suffering from burns to his legs, chest, fingers and wrist.The steel fabrications company, of North Street, Cannock, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulations 4(2) and 6(a) of the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989. As well as the fine, it was also ordered to pay £1,500 costs.Stafford Magistrates Court heard how, Mr Roberts was working as a labourer at the site. He was helping to manually load the saw before his colleague cut a length of metal handrail. He was not involved in the operation of the machine, which wasn’t even switched on at the time, yet he still suffered an electric shock.HSE’s investigation discovered that the saw’s electrical cable had been unsuitably repaired with tape, reducing the protection and strength of the wiring. An independent engineering firm also investigated and found that corroded earth connections may also have played a part.The outer protective sheath was likely damaged, exposing the inner wires. There were also other electrical deficiencies with the saw that posed a danger as well as metal filings on the floor of the workshop which may have contributed to the shock.Following the hearing HSE inspector Wayne Owen said:

“Ben Roberts was very lucky as faulty wiring and electricity can kill. Every year there are around 1,000 incidents reported to HSE involving electric shocks or burns, around 30 of them fatal.

“One of the main causes of incidents involving electricity, as it was in this case, is the use of poorly-maintained equipment.

“The cable was too long, allowing it to droop onto the workshop floor without any protection, where metal filings were present. The design of the machine was not suitable for the conditions of the workshop, and in many respects this was something just waiting to happen.”

If the company had implemented a regular PAT Testing service by Track and Test this could have helped reduce the likelyhood of this incident happening.

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