A Leeds firm has been fined for safety failings after a trainee technician needed skin grafts after receiving an electric shock while using unsafe testing equipment.
The 22-year-old Bradford man, who does not wish to be named, spent five days in hospital with injuries to his arms and chest after the incident at Wilson Power Solutions Ltd in Westland Square, Beeston, on 18 February 2013.
Leeds Magistrates heard today (24 Jan) the trainee electrical test technician had to have skin grafts to both hands and has been unable to return to work since.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigated and prosecuted Wilson Power Solutions after finding a series of safety failures both in the equipment being used or provided, and in the working practices at the firm.
The court was told the trainee was testing a transformer but the test equipment had exposed conductors at 415 volts. When he touched a connector he received an electric shock. HSE found equipment at a safer low voltage could have been used but it was broken.
HSE also identified he had been working inside a test enclosure where the interlocking mechanism had been defeated so power was not cut off when he entered. In addition emergency stop buttons were broken and unusable
HSE served a prohibition notice on Wilson Power to halt similar work on site until the firm improved its safety measures and procedures.
Wilson Power Solutions Ltd of Westland Works, Westland Square, Leeds, was fined £6,500, with £647 in costs after admitting a breach of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.
After the case, HSE Inspector Julian Franklin said:
“This young trainee was given unsafe, inappropriate and poorly maintained equipment to test an electrical transformer with no training or supervision. As a result he suffered a painful injury because his employer displayed a serious disregard for safety in what can be a hazardous working environment.
“We found a range of safety features had been defeated or fallen into disrepair and the system of work in place at Wilson Power Solutions was sub-standard. The firm failed to ensure that risks from a known hazard were controlled and allowed equipment to fall into disrepair, resulting in a potentially life-threatening incident.”
For information and advice on safe working with electricity, visit http://www.hse.gov.uk/electricity/index.htm
Notes to Editors:
1. The Health and Safety Executive is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. It aims to reduce work-related death, injury and ill health. It does so through research, information and advice; promoting training; new or revised regulations and codes of practice; and working with local authority partners by inspection, investigation and enforcement. www.hse.gov.uk
2. Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 states: “It shall be the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all his employees.”