Time and client pressures - safety comes first

The Board often hears from electrical workers that the reason behind them doing non-compliant work was that they were under pressure from a client or that they let their standards slip because of general work pressures. Neither is an excuse for non-compliant work.

An example of this came before the Board last year. A manufacturing plant had an issue with an appliance that was critical to the operation of a production line. It was a 24 hour a day operation. An electrical worker was called in afterhours. He carried out what was intended to be a very short-term solution. It involved a connection to another appliance that was available by way of a lead that had male ends at both ends. Prior to the permanent repair being completed, a factory worker came into contact with a live pin on one end of the lead and he received an electric shock. Whilst the electrical worker involved had made some efforts to prevent the lead being disconnected those efforts did not meet the requirements of “having to use a tool”.

The electrical worker was very remorseful and stated that he had succumbed to commercial pressure to abide by the requests of the facility staff to carry out ‘very temporary’ repairs, or else the maintenance work at the plant may have been lost.

In this instance it was fortunate that the outcome was not more serious. As it was the commercial pressure resulted in significant consequences for the electrical worker and his company showing that it was a poor decision in the first place. Safety comes first. If it cannot be done safely and compliantly it is best not to do it at all. The current work legislation, the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015, also contains significant penalties for those that cause or contribute to workplace incidents. Put simply it really is not worth it.