SUFFOLK FIRM FINED FOR ELECTRICAL HAZARD

Suffolk firm fined for electrical hazard

Date:
3 January 2013
Release No HSE-E-001/13
HSE inspectors found a live 400 volt cabling hanging off the wall

[1]HSE inspectors found a live 400 volt cabling hanging off the wall

A Suffolk plastics manufacturer has been fined after electrical fittings at its production site were found to be dangerous.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) uncovered serious issues with the construction and maintenance of the electrical systems at Techplas in Sudbury on 9 and 10 October 2011 after investigating a separate unrelated issue.

Bury St Edmunds Magistrates’ Court heard today (3 January 2013) that HSE inspectors found:

  • live 400 volt cabling hanging off the wall
  • a broken socket with live 400 volt cabling coiled on the floor
  • fused spurs and electric switches hanging off single-core cabling, leaving the live 230 volt wiring inside exposed

Guards had also been removed from a plastic forming machine, exposing heating elements that could become dangerous as soon as the machine was switched on.

HSE served three Prohibition Notices on the company ordering urgent improvements to be made. Magistrates were told the electrical systems posed a significant and immediate danger to workers.

Techplas Limited, of Unit 1A Milner Road, Chilton Industrial Estate, Sudbury, was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay £5,930 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching Regulation 4 of the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989.

After the hearing HSE inspector Saffron Turnell, said:

“The state of the electrical systems at Techplas 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.”

For information and advice on electrical safety, visit http://www.hse.gov.uk/electricity[2]

Notes to editors

  1. 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[3]
  2. Regulation 4 of the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 states: “(1) All systems shall at all times be of such construction as to prevent, so far as is reasonably practicable, danger. (2) As may be necessary to prevent danger, all systems shall be maintained so as to prevent, so far as is reasonably practicable, such danger. (3) 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. (4) Any equipment provided under these Regulations for the purpose of protecting persons at work on or near electrical equipment shall be suitable for the use for which it is provided, be maintained in a condition suitable for that use, and be properly used.”

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