A County Durham cleaning company has been ordered to pay more than £40,000 after it was found to have put its workers at "risk of electrocution."

UK Express Valeting of Abraham Enterprise Park, Bishop Auckland, have been fined £6,000 after Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspectors visited and found several of their electrical installations to be badly maintained and dangerous to workers in March this year.

HSE served the company with a prohibition notice preventing the use of some of the work equipment which posed a "risk of electric shock or electrocution".

This comes after a previous visit in March 2020 which resulted in enforcement action being taken in relation to "unsafe electrical installations" and "inadequate welfare facilities".

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HSE inspector Clare Maltby said: “Companies are responsible for making certain that their electrical installation and equipment are maintained to prevent danger.

“All car wash and valeting centres must properly maintain their electrical installation and equipment.

“Failure to comply with enforcement notices is a serious offence and HSE will not hesitate to prosecute where companies fail to take the action required.”

After the inspection, the company was served with an improvement notice requiring them to arrange for an electrically competent person to undertake a thorough electrical inspection and test of the fixed electrical installation and associated electrical equipment.

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The company was required to arrange for any defects identified to be fixed by an electrically competent person.

The body said the business failed to take any action despite four other visits taking place over a seven-month period.

It was noted that the electrical installations had further deteriorated during one of these inspections.

Two further prohibition notices were served in July last year, prohibiting the use of a roller shutter garage door control and a vacuum cleaner.

The HSE said this was due to both having exposed live conductors which posed a risk of electric shock or electrocution.

They found that workers were put at significant risk of this due to a lack of maintenance and failure to correct the faults found with the electrical installations.

The company was also found not to have a valid employers liability compulsory insurance.

They pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 – for failing to comply with an Improvement Notice, and Section 33(1)(g) and 1(1) of the Employers Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act 1969.

They were fined £6,000 and ordered to pay £42,389.80 in costs at Peterlee Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday (May 16).

Kev Benson, the North East GAIN co-ordinator and Disruption Team manager for NEROCU, said: “This is yet another example of the ongoing work with partners to safeguard workers.

"No one should have to work in conditions that are unsafe and a risk to themselves and others.

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“Where necessary we will support action taken by partners to ensure no laws are being broken and any enforcement notices are complied with.

“I am asking members of the public to continue to remain vigilant and report any concerns or information you have about dangerous working conditions.

"By doing so you’re helping keep your community safe for everyone.”