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GROUNDWORKER SET ON FIRE BY CABLE STRIKE

RAMS requirement for underground service checks not followed

A company undertaking excavation work has been fined for safety breaches after a workman was burned when underground electrical cables were damaged in February 2016.

Chelmsford Magistrates heard that the employee was excavating the ground at a site on Spare Lease Hill in Loughton, Essex.

During the work an electrical cable was struck and he “was set on fire” causing significant burns to his lower body. He was hospitalised for one month and unable to work for six weeks.

HSE investigators found that the company failed to adequately plan, manage and monitor the construction work. Drawings were not obtained from the utility company detailing the position of underground cables and the ground was not rescanned to a sufficient depth whilst excavation work was proceeding.

Training found wanting

The injured workman and and co-worker responsible for scanning the ground did not receive training for their tasks contrary to the requirements contained in the company risk assessment and method statement.

Mason Construction (London) Limited of Railway Place, Hertford, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 13(1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 and was fined £25,000 and ordered to pay costs of £3979.68.

After the hearing HSE inspector David King said:

“The contractor’s injuries were very serious, and he could have easily been killed. This injury would have been prevented if the company had planned and implemented safe methods of working, and provided the necessary information and training to its workers.”

 

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