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Bedford company fined after teenage trainee engineer lost his life

Date:
12 May 2015

Grundfos Pumps Limited, Leighton Buzzard, Bedford, pleaded guilty to safety failings after a trainee design engineer lost his life.

On 30 March 2009, 19-year-old trainee design engineer, Jake Herring, came into contact with a live 3 phase electrical system and died from his injuries. Jake was carrying our electrical testing work at the Grundfos Pumps Ltd factory in Windsor and was working unsupervised whilst testing a live electrical control panel.

The company appeared at Reading Crown Court on Monday 11 May 2015 and was fined £300,000,  with total costs of £115,000 after pleading guilty to breaching the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 3, (1) (a), and the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 Reg 3, (1)(a), contrary to Regulation 14.

An unsafe system of work was found to be the cause of Jake’s death.  Grundfos Pumps Ltd had not adequately risk assessed the testing of live electrical panels to identify a safe system of work and failed to provide suitable training and supervision to undertake 3 phase live testing. 

Inspector for the Health and Safety Executive, Paul Williams, said:

“This tragic incident could and should have been avoided.  Grundfos Pumps Limited’s failure to adequately risk assess the electrical testing process led to an unsafe system work being in place. Training and supervision arrangements were clearly inadequate.

If live electrical testing has to be undertaken, suitable precautions must be in place.”

More information about electrical safety can be found at http://www.hse.gov.uk/toolbox/electrical.htm

 

Notes to Editors:

  1. The 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. hse.gov.uk.
  2. Reading Crown Court heard that Jake Herring commenced employment with Grundfos Pumps Limited on 1st October 2008 as a trainee design engineer. There was no formal training plan for Jake to undertake electrical testing and at the time of the incident he was working unsupervised outside the designated electrical test area. 
  3. Regulation 3(1)(a) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 state: Every employer shall make a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks to the health and safety of his employees to which they are exposed whilst they are at work.
  4. Regulation 3(1)(a) of the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 state: Except where otherwise expressly provided in these Regulations, it shall be the duty of every employer and self-employed person to comply with the provisions of these Regulations in so far as they relate to matters which are within his control.
  5. Regulation 14(c) of the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 states: No person shall be engaged in any work activity on or so near any live conductor (other than one suitably covered with insulating material so as to prevent danger) that danger.

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