Machine operator killed whilst clearing blockage from a mail wrapping machine
A machine operator was killed by an electric shock whilst attempting
to clear a blockage from a mail wrapping machine. He pressed the emergency
stop, lifted a guard, and reached into the open back panel. Whilst freeing
packages, he touched the exposed wires on a transformer powering the
machine. The electrical wires were not insulated and no risk assessment
had been done.
The company was prosecuted under the Health and Safety at Work etc
Act 1974, Section 2, the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989, Regulation
7, and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1992,
Regulation 3. The case was referred to Crown Court for sentence. This
reflected the severity of the case and took mitigating factors into
account. The company received a £30,000 fine.
Electrical conductors should be insulated or positioned in such a way
as to prevent, so far as is reasonably practicable, danger. Those in
control of work activities should ensure that electrical machinery,
equipment and installations are maintained in a state that minimises,
so far as is reasonably practicable, the risks arising from electricity.
The downloadable Memorandum of guidance on the Electricity at Work Regulations provides guidance on the legal requirements of maintaining electrical equipment and machinery.