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January 27, 2014

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Trainee technician unable to work following electric shock


A 22-year-old trainee technician received an electric shock while using unsafe electrical equipment, which led to him needing skin grafts on both hands, Leeds Magistrates heard on 24 January.
Leeds firm Wilson Power Solutions Ltd has been fined for safety failings following the incident in Westland Square, Beeston, in February 2013. The trainee from Bradford, who spent five days in hospital following the event, has been unable to return to work since. 
The HSE investigated and prosecuted Wilson Power Solutions after finding a series of safety failures both in the equipment being used or provided, and in the working practices at the firm.
The court was told the trainee was testing a transformer but the test equipment had exposed conductors at 415 volts. When he touched a connector he received an electric shock. HSE found equipment at a safer low voltage could have been used but it was broken.
HSE also identified he had been working inside a test enclosure where the interlocking mechanism had been defeated so power was not cut off when he entered. In addition, emergency stop buttons were broken and unusable.
HSE served a prohibition notice on Wilson Power to halt similar work on site until the firm improved its safety measures and procedures.
Wilson Power Solutions Ltd of Westland Works, Westland Square, Leeds, was fined £6,500, with £647 in costs after admitting a breach of the HSWA 1974.
After the case, HSE Inspector Julian Franklin, said: “This young trainee was given unsafe, inappropriate and poorly maintained equipment to test an electrical transformer with no training or supervision. As a result he suffered a painful injury because his employer displayed a serious disregard for safety in what can be a hazardous working environment.
“We found a range of safety features had been defeated or fallen into disrepair and the system of work in place at Wilson Power Solutions was sub-standard. The firm failed to ensure that risks from a known hazard were controlled and allowed equipment to fall into disrepair, resulting in a potentially life-threatening incident.”

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