Worker received shock whilst using a pressure water washing machine
A worker received a 240 Volt electric shock whilst using a pressure
water washing machine. An investigation found the company had failed
to: a) maintain the washer, b) provide a safe system of work and c)
notify the existence of the factory to HSE. There was a high potential
for serious injury from contact with 240 Volt electricity supply when
using water washing equipment.
The company was prosecuted under The Factories Act 1961 (except section
135), Section 137, Sub Section 1, The Electricity at Work Regulations
1989 (No 4) paragraph 2, and The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989
(No 4) paragraph 1, and fined.
All work equipment should be regularly checked to ensure it is safe
to use. A visual check each day, or each time the equipment is used
is likely to identify many of the potential electrical faults. Work
equipment should also be thoroughly tested regularly. This should be
done frequently enough that there is little chance a fault will develop
that will lead to danger.
In general, equipment used in harsh environments such as building sites
or outdoors will need more regular testing than equipment used in an
office environment. It is a good idea to note down your decision on
the frequency of testing for each item of equipment and then ensure
the tests are carried out. It is also a good idea to note down the results
of each test so that deterioration can be spotted as early as possible.
You should regularly review your frequency of testing and change it
according to the number and type of defects found.
The downloadable leaflet Homeworking
offers guidance on how to perform visual checks on work equipment. The
downloadable HSE booklet Maintaining
portable and transportable electrical equipment provides guidance
on equipment maintenance. The downloadable leaflet
Do you use a steam/water pressure cleaner? and the downloadable HSE booklet Electrical risks from steam/water pressure cleaners provide guidance on the safe use of pressure washers.
It is possible to do simple checks on your installation using an electrical socket tester. This is a device that can be plugged into a socket outlet, and can identify if there is a wiring fault. However, be aware that many types of socket tester cannot detect certain types of fault, and could indicate the socket is safe when it is not. Read the information provided by HSE on Electrical Socket Testers.