Safety Signs News

Firm fined after worker is exposed to 11,000 volts

1st February 2011 | Warning Signs

Posted by Nicole Stevens.

An electrical engineering firm has been fined after a worker suffered serious burns from equipment carrying 11,000 volts, highlighting the importance of warning signs.

The 52-year-old employee of Powersystems UK was injured while working in Stroud in September 2009.

Cheltenham Magistrates' Court heard how the man, who was being supervised by an electrical engineer, was informed the cable connection box he was working on was isolated and earthed, but was told to open the wrong box in error.

The box in fact contained three terminals that were live at 11,000 volts. The current passed from a live terminal to the employee's spanner, with the resulting flash setting his clothes alight.

He suffered burns to his hands, arms and chest.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that Powersystems UK had failed to carry out a risk assessment, that the worker was not wearing suitable protection equipment, and highlighted the error on the part of the supervisor.

Talking after the hearing, HSE inspector Dawn Lawrence said the employee could have died as a result of the electric shock.

Powersystems UK was fined £5,000 plus £8,000 in costs, after pleading guilty to breaching the Health & Safety at Work Act.

In 2009, the HSE issued a safety warning after two men suffered 11,000-volt electric shocks in Lancashire. ADNFCR-2754-ID-800377338-ADNFCR


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