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Employee sustained broken shoulders when testing a incorrectly wired appliance

An employee sustained a 240 volt electric shock that broke both shoulders whilst attempting to test a newly manufactured appliance that had been incorrectly wired to the mains lead. Suitable precautions had not been taken to prevent electrical injury to employees engaged in testing work on electrical appliances. Employees were exposed to live wires at 240 Volts ac, there was exposed metal in the test area, there was no PAT test of mains lead prior to live test and no risk assessment for electrical testing work.

Action

The employers were prosecuted under The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 (No 14), The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1992 (No 3) paragraph 1 and received a fine.

Comment

The correct procedures should be used when powering up electrical equipment for the first time so that the risks arising from incorrect assembly are minimised. The procedures should be based on an assessment of the foreseeable faults and the actions necessary to prevent faults from giving rise to danger. Employees should be instructed how to use the procedures, and the effectiveness of the procedures should be reassessed regularly, or where there is a change that could give rise to additional risks.

The free downloadable leaflets Safety in electrical testing at work and Safety in electrical testing: Servicing and repair of domestic equipment provides guidance on how workers can stay safe when undertaking electrical testing at work.

Updated 2012-08-08