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Employee's heart stopped while maintaining an induction heat treatment machine

An engineering factory employee sustained an electric shock that stopped his heart while maintaining an induction heat treatment machine that was live. The equipment should have been made dead and it was found he was not competent to undertake such work. Although he was resuscitated, he suffered oxygen starvation resulting in a serious brain injury.

Action

His employers were prosecuted under The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 (No 14), The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 (No 16), and fined.

Comment

Electrical equipment and machinery should be securely isolated before any work is undertaken on it that will give rise to risks arising from the electricity or other risk such as those caused by an unintended start up. People who perform the isolation and work should be competent to do so. A formal permit to work system may be required where the risks are higher.

The downloadable HSE booklet Electricity at work - safe working practices provides guidance on competence, isolation, and permit to work systems.

Updated 2012-12-06