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£30k fine after worker suffers electrical burns

28 June 2021

GLASSFLAKE HAS has been sentenced after an employee received an electric shock while working inside a transformer cabinet.

Leeds Magistrates’ Court heard that, on the 7 June 2019, the worker was changing tappings on a transformer, which serves the tanks which melt glass, at a factory on Forster Street, Leeds.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that he was working on the transformer supplying current to an electric heating element. He was found unconscious inside the rear of the transformer, with the transformer not isolated. His torch and spanner were on the floor of the cabinet, and he had significant burns to his chin and the back of his head consistent with an electric shock passing from his chin to the side of the cabinet.

Glassflake Ltd of Forster Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 3 (1) (a) of the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989. The company has been fined £30,000 and ordered to pay £693.62 in costs.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Julian Franklin commented: “Working on live electrical systems exposes workers to significant risk of electric shock and should be avoided if reasonably practical”.

“This incident could so easily have been avoided by simply carrying out the correct control measures, primarily by isolating the power supply first.

“HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those responsible for electrical work that put their workers at risk.”