Foundry fined after electrical flashover

Two foundry workers suffered serious burns after an electrical incident.

The employees were attempting to bring the power back on after a furnace had been repaired by contractors.

The workers had replaced some fuses. But on shutting the fuse panel door found an interlock prevented the main switch from working. They then decided to bypass the interlock by opening the door and using a screwdriver in order to try the main switch again. At this point, an electrical ‘flashover’ occurred.

No consideration of the law

An investigation by Health & Safety Executive (HSE) found work had been allowed on live conductors without consideration of the law.

In particular, the foundry did not have:

  • any electrical safety rules
  • safe systems of work
  • a permit system in place
  • recorded systems or rules for working with electricity

There was also no risk assessment and the injured employees were not given any specific instructions on how to do the work safely.

Sentence

BAS Castings Limited admitted breaking the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989.

It was fined £60,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1,350.

The HSE stress those in control of work are responsible for:

  • coming up with safe ways of working
  • providing workers with the necessary information, instruction and training in working safely

It said the injuries would have been prevented if a suitable safe system of work had been in place.

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