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PROSECUTION ELECTRICAL CABLE STRIKE

Workman suffers burns as concrete breaker hits underground cable

Trains (Rochdale) Limited have been ordered to pay £3k in fines and prosecution costs after a workman was injured when a hand-held mechanical breaker struck a buried live electrical cable. The company was prosecuted under the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 – Regulation 4(3). The breaker was being used whilst installing a car park post and rail fence. 

HSE investigating inspector Rosemary Leese-Weller said: “If the company had simply provided the plans, undertaken the scans and located the cable, digging in the area could have been avoided and this incident would never have occurred.”

Comment: The fine imposed in this case was low (£1k) and will reflect all the facts put before the court. However, the company now has a criminal record that will be disclosed during tendering and pre-qualification processess and this may well affect future business success. Prosecution records are also on the HSE public enforcement database. These consequences are all unecessary as there are simple precautions that can be taken to avoid underground services.     

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