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CABLE STRIKE VICTIM SUFFERS ‘SERIOUS PSYCHOLOGICAL HARM’

Refurb worker thrown across room after live electric cable damaged

Wain Homes (North West) Ltd has been prosecuted after a workman severed a live electricity cable on a building site near Wigan in November 2010. The 42-year-old man was “thrown across the room” and knocked unconscious by the 230 volt electric shock. He has suffered serious psychological harm as a result of the incident.

The company was refurbishing a farm house and building a cluster of new homes and the injured man was a casual labourer working in a cellar.

HSE investigators found that the required CDM 2007 construction plan identified live electricity cables as a danger yet Wain Homes failed to check the status of cables to see if they were live or properly isolated. In addition, a gas pipe was damaged by a digger in August 2010.

Power supplies must be located and tested before starting work

The prosecution alleged failure to plan and manage the construction work safely, failure to locate and check existing gas and electricity services, and failing to ensure the safety of workers.

On 23 December 2011 Wain Homes (North West) Ltd admitted two breaches of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 and one breach of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £8,000 with an order to pay £2,095 in prosecution costs.

Speaking after the hearing, Thomas Merry, the investigating inspector at HSE, said:

“This was a serious incident which has left one worker with psychological scarring, but it could easily have resulted in several people being badly injured or even killed.

Building firms carrying out work on sites where there are existing power supplies must make sure they are located and tested before starting work.

It’s astonishing that Wain Homes failed to do this, especially after a gas pipe was damaged on the site more than two months before the incident because the company hadn’t carried out the proper checks.”

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