Leighton Buzzard company Grundfos fined after safety failings cause 19-year-old’s death

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A company from Leighton Buzzard pleaded guilty to safety failings after a 19-year-old trainee design engineer lost his life.

Grundfos Pumps Limited, based on Grovebury Road, appeared at Reading Crown Court on Monday May 11 and pleaded guilty to breaching the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 and the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989.

The company was fined £300,000, with costs of £115,000.

On March 30 2009, 19-year-old trainee design engineer, Jake Herring, died after coming into contact with a live 3 phase electrical system while unsupervised.

Jake was carrying our electrical testing work at the Grundfos Pumps Ltd factory in Windsor and was testing a live electrical control panel.

An unsafe system of work was found to be the cause of Jake’s death.

Grundfos Pumps Ltd were judged to have not adequately risk assessed the testing of live electrical panels to identify a safe system of work and failed to provide suitable training and supervision to undertake 3 phase live testing.

Inspector for the Health and Safety Executive, Paul Williams, said: “This tragic incident could and should have been avoided. Grundfos Pumps Limited’s failure to adequately risk assess the electrical testing process led to an unsafe system work being in place. Training and supervision arrangements were clearly inadequate.”

Speaking after the verdict, a spokesman from Grundfos said that Jake’s death had been met with “tremendous disbelief” by all concerned.

She added: “The company pleaded guilty to two charges brought against it by the HSE and they accept the penalty imposed by the court and note that, in passing sentence, the company’s overall good record in terms of health and safety and its prompt remedial measures were recognised by the judge.

“As a company we remain deeply saddened by Jake’s death. He was a valued and well liked employee who showed much promise. We continue to extend our condolences to his family and friends who remain in our thoughts.”