Arrow Tools fined for failing to maintain equipment

AArrow Tools, based in Waltham Abbey, Hertfordshire, has been 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 an HSE Improvement Notice regarding the management of risk.

Watford Magistrates’ Court heard on 25 April how 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 & Safety Executive (HSE) during an inspection on 19 November 2011.

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 on 12 Nov 2010 and 7 April 2011 found there were still insufficient arrangements to manage risks properly.

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.

“Arrow Tools were served several Improvement Notices, including one in relation to their management arrangements, and were given ample time to comply. Yet they failed to do so and put their employees at risk for an extended period of time in the process.

“Companies have a legal duty to protect the health and safety of their employees and others around them and this includes complying with improvement notices.”

For more information about electrical safety at work, click here to visit the relevant setion on the HSE website.