£600,000 Issued in Fines After Fatal Electrocution in Hospital Kitchen
In this article, we delve into the importance of electrical safety and the HSE's dedication to ensuring that companies are held responsible for any negligence in safety measures. It explores the case of three companies collectively being fined £600,000 following the tragic death of an engineer who was fatally electrocuted while repairing a hospital kitchen appliance.
Craig Stocker, an engineer working for Serviceline, died in December 2017 while fixing a macerator at Bishops Wood Hospital, operated by BMI Healthcare (now Circle Health Group Limited) in Northwood, Middlesex.
The 36-year-old encountered a metal section of the macerator that had become electrified due to water infiltrating the machine's wiring, a situation exacerbated by the absence of an earth wire and the lack of a residual current device (RCD) to prevent fatal exposure to the electrical current.
The HSE investigation revealed critical design flaws in the macerator by Imperial Machine Company, including an ineffective earthing wire and continuous live operation. McFarlane Telfer's 2013 installation failed to follow the manufacturer's instructions, which mandated the fitting of a residual current device (RCD). BMI Healthcare overlooked the missing RCD, leading to several years of machine operation before the incident.
The severity of the outcome underscores the crucial importance of accurately installing and testing electrical equipment to safeguard both workers and other personnel. This incident serves as a stark reminder of the potential deadly consequences of electrical faults, emphasizing the need for the utmost safety precautions in all electrical operations.
At Southwark Crown Court, BMI Healthcare (now Circle Health Group Limited) was found guilty of violating Section 2(1) and Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, resulting in a fine of £450,000, along with additional costs totaling £106,895. Similarly, McFarlane Telfer Limited was found in breach of the same Act's sections and was fined £70,000, in addition to £106,753 in costs. In contrast, AFE Group Limited (Serviceline) was found not guilty.
Imperial Machine Company Limited, after pleading guilty to breaching 6(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, was fined £80,000 and £12,945 in costs in March 2022.
In conclusion, this tragic incident emphasizes the critical importance of safety measures during all electrical operations. Prioritizing correct equipment installation, maintenance, and testing is imperative for the well-being of employees and those under their care. At Base Solutions we offer a multitude of online courses to make it quicker and easier to access training for employees. Our online Electrical Safety course can help to identify and address electrical hazards safely and efficiently. If you are interested in how Base Solutions can assist you, please do not hesitate to contact us for further information.