Southern Derbyshire Magistrates’ Court heard how, on 2nd September 2016, two employees were working to reinstate the power supply at BAS Castings Ltd to one of the furnaces after repair work had been completed by contractors.
After replacing the fuses, they shut the door to the fuse panel, which engaged the interlock, and tried to close the main switch. When this would not operate, they opened the panel door and decided to bypass the interlock using a screwdriver to try the main switch again. At this point an electrical flashover occurred. Both men suffered serious skin burns requiring surgery followed by a two week stay in hospital to recover.
A subsequent Health & Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found that at the time of the incident, BAS Castings Ltd did not have any electrical safety rules, safe systems of work or a permit system in place, and there were no recorded systems or rules for working with electricity. There was no assessment of risk and the injured employees were not provided with any specific instructions on how to undertake the work safely. The company also allowed employees to work on live conductors without consideration of the conditions which are stipulated in law.
BAS Castings Limited of Wharf Road Industrial Estate, Pinxton, Nottinghamshire, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4 (3) and Regulation 14 of the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989. It was fined a total of £60,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1353.90
HSE inspector Leigh Stanley said after the case: “Those in control of work have a responsibility to devise safe methods of working and to provide the necessary information, instruction and training to their workers in the safe system of working. If a suitable safe system of work had been in place prior to the incident, the injuries sustained by the employees could have been prevented.”