A massive electric shock sustained by a factory worker from Wigan – leading to a cardiac arrest which stopped his heart – has led to a £15,000 fine for the cable manufacturing company.
Liverpool Crown Court was told the 28-year-old Hindley man, who chose not to be named, was working with up to 2,000 volts in an area of the Merseyside factory.
Tratos Ltd was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after an investigation found the lock on the entrance to a high-voltage area had been changed, meaning power could be applied to the room with the door still open.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Bruce Jones said: “Workers shouldn’t have been able to gain access to the testing pen while electricity was being fed through the cables.
“But the safety system that prevents this from happening was overridden.”
Medical staff had to resuscitate the worker on the way to hospital after his heart stopped beating while he also sustained serious burns to his arms and face.
“Tratos Ltd’s employees hadn’t been given any information or training on what to do if the testing pen became damaged,” he added.
“They decided to remove the safety mechanism in the door so that they could continue to test cables.
“The company should have ensured that effective health and safety management was in place not only to provide adequate supervision but also safe working procedures for employees to follow.
“Had this happened, the life-threatening injuries suffered by an employee could have been avoided.”
As well as the £15,000 fine for pleading guilty to a breach of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, Tratos Ltd, of School Lane, Knowlsley was ordered to pay £4,206 in prosecution costs.
Workers at the factory had been struggling to shut the door leading to the testing pen after one of the hinges became damaged.
They altered the locking mechanism for the door which tricked the safety system into believing it was locked shut. This meant power could be applied to the pen with the door still open.
The worker suffered a severe electric shock when he disturbed one of the cables in the testing pen while a current was being fed through it.
Information on electrical safety is available at www.hse.gov.uk/electricity.