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    ABSENCE OF PLANS PROMPTS UNDERGROUND STRIKE

    Council prosecuted after workman with ‘jackhammer’ suffers electric shock

    Bury Metropolitan Borough Council has been fined £20,000 after a 33-year-old workan suffered burns to his wrist, leg and groin and singed his facial hair while removing a lamp post on 9 June 2011. HSE investigators found the injured man had received inadequate training and supervision for the work.

    Trafford Magistrates’ Court heard (14 December 2012) how new street lights had been installed and the old lights disconnected. The injured worker and a colleague were removing one of the old lamp posts(using a jackhammer to break the concrete) when the equipment struck a mains electricity cable.

    The men had not been provided with service drawings for the lamp post being removed which would have shown where the mains cable was located. Their manager had not received health and safety management training despite it being part of his job to ensure work was carried out safely.

    People working near power cables must be trained

    Bury Metropolitan Borough Council, of Knowsley Street in Bury, was fined £20,000 and ordered to pay £7,594 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 by failing to ensure the safety of workers.

    Speaking after the hearing, HSE Principal Inspector John McGrellis said:

    “The council employee needed several days off work to recover from his burn injuries but he could easily have been killed.

    He shouldn’t have been put in a situation where he didn’t know what the potential dangers were as he used a jackhammer to break up the concrete around the lamp post.

    It’s vital that people carrying out work near to power lines receive appropriate supervision and training to ensure their safety.”

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