Office for Nuclear Regulation

AWE fined £1 million at sentencing hearing

9 November, 2018

VIDEO – Reaction: Donald Urquhart, ONR’s Deputy Chief Inspector and Director of Operating Facilities

The Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) was fined £1 million today after admitting offences under Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act (1974).

AWE was also ordered to pay costs of £26,096.88 during a sentencing hearing at Reading Magistrates Court.

It follows an electrical incident on 27 June, 2017, at the company’s Aldermaston site which resulted in injury to an employee. The incident was a conventional health and safety matter and there was no radiological risk to workers or the public.

The prosecution was the result of an investigation into the incident by the ONR, the UK’s independent nuclear safety regulator.

AWE had previously pleaded guilty to the offences before Reading Magistrates Court in September.

Donald Urquhart, ONR’s Deputy Chief Inspector and Director of Operating Facilities regulation, said:

“We welcome today’s outcome which recognises that AWE fell short in its duty to protect a worker.

“This related to a conventional safety hazard and should have been avoided – and indeed would have been – had the right procedures and processes for safety been in place. Fortunately, in this case the individual involved was not seriously harmed but easily could have been.

“ONR as an independent regulator needs to hold dutyholders to account on behalf of workers and the public and that is what we’ve done in this instance.

“I’m pleased to say that AWE has shown commitment to make substantial improvements on its side as regards electrical safety. I have a team that inspects the site and they will monitor progress towards achieving the standards we expect.”