Office for Nuclear Regulation

GE Healthcare Ltd, Amersham Conventional Health & Safety inspection

Executive summary

Purpose of Intervention

This Conventional Health & Safety inspection was undertaken to examine the adequacy of GE Healthcare’s (GEHC) arrangements for complying with the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989, in respect of ensuring that any work on or near an electrical system be carried out in such a manner as to prevent danger. The inspection also examined GE’s arrangements for complying with the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations (CDM) for demolition projects on site.

Interventions Carried Out by ONR

The key regulatory activities undertaken during the inspection at Amersham were:

Key Findings, Inspector's Opinions and Reasons for Judgements Made

The Electricity at Work Regulations:

ONR examined GEHC’s arrangements for planning excavation work and locating underground electrical services.  This intervention was prompted in response to a low-voltage cable strike during recent excavation works at the Amersham site.  ONR is of the opinion that the duty holder’s current arrangements for avoiding danger from underground cables are below standard.  This was accepted by GEHC, who agreed to undertake a full review and develop an action plan to implement the necessary improvements. 

The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations:

GEHC’s CDM arrangements are developed and implemented locally for individual projects.  This appears to have worked well for the projects undertaken to date, although there appears to be reliance upon competent individual to manage the work and liaise with the Principal Designer.  ONR advised GEHC to develop corporate arrangements for CDM and to review the organisational capability for taking on the PC role.  Overall, GE Healthcare demonstrated compliance with the CDM regulations in regards to demolition projects on site.    

Conclusion of Intervention

GE Healthcare failed to demonstrate adequate arrangements for the planning of excavation work and location of underground electrical services.  Additionally their review into the recent  cable strike event did not identify shortfalls in the planning process.  GE agreed to undertake a full review of their procedures against available guidance and develop an action plan to implement the necessary improvements.

The demolition projects on site were sampled and, in relation to these projects, GE Healthcare demonstrated compliance with CDM.  However, there are no specific corporate arrangements in place for CDM, with much reliance placed on experienced individuals to plan, manage and monitor the projects.  This was accepted by GE Healthcare, who agreed to revise their approach and develop company arrangements for CDM compliance.