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Contractor fined for cable strike burns

13 Nov 17 A construction company undertaking excavation work has been fined £25,000 for safety breaches after a worker was burned by striking underground electrical cables.

Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court heard that in February 2016 an employee of Mason Construction (London) Ltd was excavating the ground at a site on Spare Lease Hill in Loughton, Essex. He struck an electrical cable and was set on fire. He received significant burns to his lower body, causing him to be hospitalised for a month and unable to work for six weeks.

An investigation by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) found that the company had failed to plan, manage and monitor the construction work adequately. It had 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 man, and the employee responsible for scanning the ground had been given no training for their tasks, despite this being detailed in the company’s risk assessments and method statements.

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

HSE inspector David King said after the hearing: “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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