Are you protecting your younger workforce?

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In last few weeks there has been a new court case reported involving a young worker. Grundfos Pumps Limited, Leighton Buzzard, Bedford, pleaded guilty to safety failings after a trainee design engineer sadly 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.”

If you have young workers or apprentices the law says you must consider the additional risks from lack of experience, knowledge and competence. Young people may not have the the same ability to make a judgement call on safe systems of work as a more mature adults. Make sure you adequately supervise young members of staff and give them the right level of training and information. A supportive mentoring process will help young people to learn about the importance of safety in the workplace.

For the full story about Jake Herring click here 

For my previous news brief about safety and apprentices click here