Employee was killed while working with poorly constructed equipment

An employee was killed by a 415 volt electric shock whilst setting up equipment to test printed circuit boards. The test equipment was poorly constructed, resulting in the employee working in close proximity to live connectors at the ends of test leads.


The employers were prosecuted under the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989, Regulations 4(1) - Unsuitable design of test equipment 4(3), 7 - Live exposed conductors & 14. They were fined.


Equipment should be designed so that it does not give rise to electrical or other risks, and a safe system of work employed to ensure the equipment is used correctly. A risk assessment should be done to identify the hazards, the risks arising from the hazards, and the control measures needed to control the risks. The control measures should be incorporated into the safe system of work. Workers should be instructed to use the safe system of work, and the effectiveness of the safe system of work monitored. It is very beneficial for all staff to have knowledge of emergency procedures.

The downloadable leaflet Safety in electrical testing at work provides guidance on how workers can stay safe when undertaking electrical testing at work. The downloadable HSE booklet Electrical test equipment for use by electricians provides advice on the selection of suitable test equipment.

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Updated 2023-01-09