A Hertfordshire tool supply company has been told to pay £27,000 for endangering workers after neglecting to maintain electrical systems and equipment.
Watford Magistrates’ Court heard that tools including power hammers and grinding machines, as well as fixed electrical systems, were so poorly maintained that they presented immediate and potentially fatal risks to employees.
The failings were identified by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) during an inspection on 19 November 2009. HSE served four Improvement Notices on the company, including one to improve management arrangements, over an 18 month period.
However, despite two extensions being granted to comply with the terms of the notices, subsequent investigations in 12 Nov 2010 and 7 April 2011 found there were still insufficient arrangements to properly manage risks.
The company was fined a total of £24,000 and ordered to pay £3,000 in costs after admitting a breach of the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 and for ignoring the management improvement notice.
After the hearing, HSE inspector Peter Burns said: "It is important that companies recognise and acknowledge the risks posed by poorly maintained electrical systems, which could ultimately result in death – as was the real danger here. The best way to ensure that these and other risks are controlled is to have effective management systems in place.”