Company fined after worker strikes electrical cable

13 November 2017

A company undertaking excavation work has been fined for safety breaches after a worker was badly burned from striking underground electrical cables.

Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court heard that in February 2016 an employee was excavating the ground at a site for Mason Construction on Spare Lease Hill in Loughton, Essex. He struck an electrical cable and suffered significant burns to his lower body, resulting in him being hospitalised for a month and unable to work for six weeks.

An investigation by the HSE found the company failed to adequately plan, manage and monitor the construction work, failed to obtain drawings from the utility company detailing the position of underground cables, and did not re-scan the affected ground to a sufficient depth while excavation work was ongoing.

Both the injured person, and the employee responsible for scanning the ground, did not receive training for their tasks, despite this being detailed in the company’s risk assessments and method statements.

Mason Construction of Railway Place, Hertford, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 13(1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 and has been fined £25,000 and ordered to pay costs of £3,979.68.

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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