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Hertfordshire company fined for electrical safety failings

Date:
25 April 2013

A Hertfordshire tool supply company has been told to pay £27,000 for endangering workers after neglecting to maintain electrical systems and equipment.

Watford Magistrates’ Court heard today (25 April 2013) that tools including power hammers and grinding machines, as well as fixed electrical systems, were so poorly maintained at Arrow Tools in Waltham Abbey that they presented immediate and potentially fatal risks to employees.

The failings were identified by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) during an inspection on 19 November 2009

HSE served four Improvement Notices on the company, including one to improve management arrangements, over an 18 month period.

However, despite two extensions being granted to comply with the terms of the notices, subsequent investigations in 12 Nov 2010 and 7 April 2011 found there were still insufficient arrangements to properly manage risks.

Arrow Tools (UK) Limited, of Gordon Road, Waltham Abbey, was fined a total of £24,000 and ordered to pay £3,000 in costs after admitting a breach of the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 and for ignoring the management improvement notice.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Peter Burns said:

"It is important that companies recognise and acknowledge the risks posed by poorly maintained electrical systems, which could ultimately result in death – as was the real danger here.

"The best way to ensure that these and other risks are controlled is to have effective management systems in place.

Arrow Tools were served several Improvement Notices, including one in relation to their management arrangements, and were given ample time to comply. Yet they failed to do so and put their employees at risk for an extended period of time in the process.

"Companies have a legal duty to protect the health and safety of their employees and other around them and this includes complying with improvement notices."

For more information about electrical safety at work, visit http://www.hse.gov.uk/electricity/

Notes to editors

  1. Health and Safety Executive is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. It aims to reduce work-related death, injury and ill health. It does so through research, information and advice; promoting training; new or revised regulations and codes of practice; and working with local authority partners by inspection, investigation and enforcement. www.hse.gov.uk
  2. Regulation 4(2) of the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 states: &As may be necessary to prevent danger, all systems shall be maintained so as to prevent, so far as is reasonably practicable, such danger.”"

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