Unsafe test equipment leads to HSE fine

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) reports that 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.

A 22-year-old Bradford man spent five days in hospital with injuries to his arms and chest after the incident. 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 an enforcement notice on Wilson Power requiring improvements to be made to its safety measures and procedures. The company 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. 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.” More details at:www.press.hse.gov.uk