£425k court bill for firm over teen who was electrocuted at company site

£425k court bill for firm over teen who was electrocuted at company site

Emma Billingham

£425k court bill for firm over teen who was electrocuted at company site
Jake Herring

A firm responsible for the death of a teenage employee faces a court bill of £425,000.

Grundfos Pumps Ltd was prosecuted after trainee design engineer Jake Herring, 19, was electrocuted at the company site on the Fairacres Industrial Estate in Windsor on March 30, 2009.

An investigation was opened into Jake’s death by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and Thames Valley Police.

Grundfos was charged with not taking suitable precautions to prevent injury to Jake Herring when he was working on or near live conductors when testing control panels, and failing to make a suitable and sufficient assessment of risks to the health and safety of employees when they were undertaking live electrical testing of control panels.

It admitted the offences at Reading Magistrates’ Court on March 12.

Sentenced at Reading Crown Court on Monday, the company was fined £300,000, ordered to pay £115,000 costs and £10,000 compensation, within two months.

A statement released by Grundfos after the hearing said: “This a sad and difficult situation which was met with tremendous disbelief by all concerned.

“The company accepts 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.”

Jake, who went to Burnham Upper School, now Burnham Park Academy, had moved out of his family home in Lent Green Lane to Pevensey Road in Slough just months before he died .

At the time of his death, Jake’s mum Kerri said: “Words can’t express how much of a loss this will be to our family, his friends and all who knew him.”

Grundfos has since relocated its Windsor operation to the North-east.

Following the sentencing, inspector for the HSE, 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.

“If live electrical testing has to be undertaken, suitable precautions must be in place.”

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