Small businesses ‘at risk of heavy fines’ from HSE over workplace safety

A spate of accidents in electrical and construction firms has demonstrated the urgent need for comprehensive safety measures on site.

Last month a Birmingham engineering company was fined £50,000, and ordered to pay costs of nearly £8,000, following an accident in which two electricians suffered severe burns.

Unsuitable equipment

The workers, one an employee and the other a subcontractor, had been asked to dismantle old equipment at a site in Walsall.

During their work, an incident occurred in which both workers received major electrical burns. In an investigation, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the testing equipment the workers were using was not suitable for the high voltages with which they were working, and that one of the two was not qualified to work on such high voltage systems.

Maintaining work equipment crucial, say HSE

Meanwhile, in Scotland, an energy company has been fined £1.75 million following the scalding of one of its workers in a power station. The employee was hurt after opening a faulty valve.

In that case, the HSE found that the company did not take steps to repair the valve, despite knowing that it was faulty.

In a statement, the HSE said: “This case has highlighted the importance for every employer of ensuring that systems are in place for maintaining work equipment in a safe condition, efficient working order, and in good repair.”

Have you encountered unsafe working environments? Let us know below.

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