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PROSECUTION UNDERGROUND SERVICES

Workman suffers severe burns after breaker strikes 132kv cable

breaker2The London Borough of Tower Hamlets and contractor T Cartledge Ltd have been ordered to pay a total of £88k in fines and prosecution costs after a worker received severe burns when the breaker he was using struck a live electrical cable. The incident occurred in October 2005 when the employee of T Cartledge Ltd was installing a lamppost on the footpath. The breaker struck the 132Kv electrical cable and he suffered severe burns. Tower Hamlets Council and T Cartledge Ltd failed to provide service plans that would have identified the underground electrical cables and did not supervise the work effectively.

Comment: The precautions necessary to prevent such incidents are well known: plans, site survey, cable location devices, safe digging practices and a project specific safe system of work. These precautions can difficult to implement in certain locations e.g. cable in concrete, and supplies may need to be made ‘dead’ before work commences. CDM 2007 requires the project client to provide information and this case highlights the importance of identifying and sharing this information at at early stage in the project.    

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