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Wed October 28 2020

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Another Midlands contractor fined over power cable burns

16 Nov 10 Solihull-based Pacestone Construction has been fined £13,000 after one of its workers suffered burns when his drill hit a power cable.

The worker, who asked not to be named, was using a pneumatic drill to dig a trench at a Taylor Wimpey housing development at Westminster Place in Rushall, Walsall, when he struck an 11kv cable under the pavement on 13 August 2009.

He suffered severe burns from the resulting flash and was airlifted to Selly Oak Hospital in Birmingham for emergency treatment.

The case is remarkably similar to the one we reported yesterday.

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found that Pacestone Construction had failed to take sufficient steps to protect its employees from the risk presented by underground cables. The worker was unaware of where they were located on the site.

Pacestone Construction Ltd, of Freda House, Oak Farm, Catherine De Barnes, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 34(3) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007. It was fined £13,000 and ordered to pay £3,870 costs by Walsall Magistrates' Court.

HSE inspector David Price said: "This incident was entirely preventable had the company taken sensible precautions. Using a cable detector, marking the location of cables and only allowing workers to use hand tools when digging in the proximity of live services would have avoided the risk of hitting cables. Serious injury or even death can result from contact with electricity. It's essential that employers have safe working procedures for any work involving electrical plant, cabling or equipment."

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