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FIRM FAILED TO PREVENT UNDERGROUND CABLE STRIKE

Workman suffered burns after metal pin struck high voltage electric cable

Swindon Commercial Services (wholly owned subsidiary of Swindon Borough Council) has been fined after an agency employee received an electric shock whilst securing fencing at a play area on 23 April 2010.

HSE investigators found that Swindon Commercial Services failed to plan the work properly:

  • Assessment: an appropriate risk assessment was not carried out;
  • Plans: no reference to plans of underground services from utility companies; and
  • Detection: cable avoidance tools not used to locate and mark and underground services.

The worker was driving metal road pins into soft ground in order to secure temporary fencing at the renovation project when a pin struck a high voltage underground electric cable. He suffered burns to his hands and chest.

Correct planning procedures and right equipment required

Swindon Commercial Services pleaded guilty at Swindon Magistrates’ Court to breaching Section 34(3) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 and was fined £12,000 and ordered to pay prosecution costs of £4,403.

HSE Inspector Stephan Axt-Simmonds said:

“This was an incident that could have easily been avoided had the company undertaken the correct planning procedures and provided the right equipment to ensure that they knew the location of any underground utility services before allowing workers to penetrate the ground with metal equipment.”

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