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12th June 2024

Car Wash Firm Fined £40,000 for Health And Safety Failings

Man jet washing a car

What’s Happened?

A car wash firm has recently been fined £40,000 after it placed both employees and customers at risk from electrical hazards at its site in Devon.

Health and Safety Executive (HSE) Inspectors undertook site visits to the car wash site in Tavistock. They found employees were carrying out car washing outdoors, using electrical appliances such as pressure washers and vacuum cleaners. However, the company had failed to ensure the installation had been constructed or maintained by a competent person to prevent danger to both the employees and customers alike. As a result of the electrical hazards identified, the company was issued with five enforcement notices.

However, despite the enforcement notices, further HSE visits found that they had not been complied with, and the Car Wash owners had continued to operate with the known electrical safety risks present on site.

In Court

Best Car Wash Ltd of Tavistock, Devon did not provide representation at Plymouth Magistrates’ Court and was found guilty in their absence of breaching Section 3 of the Electricity at Work Regs and Reg 33 of the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974.  They were fined £40,000 and ordered to pay costs of £3,164 on 6 June 2024.

Speaking after the hearing, The HSE Inspector involved in the case said: “We can and will prosecute if companies fail to comply with enforcement notices.

“Those in control of work have a responsibility to ensure safe methods of working. The dangers associated with electricity in a work environment are well known and a wealth of advice and guidance is freely available from HSE.”

What Should They Have Done

The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 require that any electrical equipment that has the potential to cause injury is maintained in a safe condition.

The frequency of inspection and testing depends upon the type of equipment and the environment it is used (see HSE website),  but as electrical installations an equipment can deteriorate with age and use, they should be inspected and tested at regular intervals by a competent person. The purpose of this is to check whether they are in a satisfactory condition for continued use.

Such safety checks are commonly referred to as ‘periodic inspection and testing’. It should be noted that many insurance policies will also contain a stipulation to have electrical installations and equipment tested as a condition of cover.

For further information or advice don’t hesitate to call us on 0300 303 228 or email us at info@lighthouseriskservices.co.uk

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