Cladding firm fined £20k for failing to protect workers

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Unique Envelope Façade Solutions has been fined £20,160 after failing to protect its self-employed workers from the risk of a cable strike explosion or electrocution whilst carrying out repairs

The cladding company, Unique Envelope Façade Solutions, failed to protects its workers from the risk of electrocution while working at AVL Powertrain in Coventry.

Coventry Magistrates’ Court heard how on 28 November 2018, two self-employed workers received serious burns to their hands whilst using a drill to attach a prefabricated cowling to a cable tray. The incident occurred when one of the fixings went into a cable, striking one of the phases and causing an explosion.

The HSE investigation

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that Unique Envelope Façade Solution Limited’s risk assessments and method statements did not consider the risk of drilling into cable trays containing live cables, isolating the electrics to complete work or other methods of fixing which did not involve drilling.

Unique Envelope Façade Solutions Limited pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4(3) of the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989. The company was fined £20,160 and ordered to pay costs of £1,178, as well as a victim surcharge of £170.

Speaking after the case, HSE inspector Gareth Langston, said: “This incident demonstrated the importance of the role of those preparing the job. The company overlooked the 415V 3 phase cabling they were drilling in towards. A cable strike, even at this voltage, can cause a major explosion.

“This incident has left two men with long-lasting burn injuries and they are now unable to work for a long time.”

Regulation 4(3) of the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989

Regulation 4(3) requires that work activities of any sort, whether directly or indirectly associated with an electrical system, must be carried out in a way which does not give rise to danger.

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