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Sun September 26 2021

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Prosecution highlights cable danger

15 Nov 10 A Birmingham heating company has been convicted after one of its workers suffered serious burns from a power cable.

The man from Coventry, who asked not to be identified, was using a hand-held mini breaker to dig through concrete in an alleyway at Smith Street, Warwick, when he struck an 11kv cable under the pavement on 29 April 2009.

The resulting flash from the power cable caused second degree burns to the man’s face and neck that subsequently kept him off work for five weeks.

The Magna Heating Company Limited, formerly of Ludgate Hill, which is now in liquidation and no longer trading, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 13(2) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 at Leamington Spa Magistrates' Court. The company was fined £1.

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found that the company had failed to take sufficient steps to protect its employees from the risk presented by underground cables.

HSE inspector Paul Cooper said: "This incident was entirely preventable had the company taken proper precautions. The company knew about HSE guidance on safe digging practice and failed to follow it. The Magna Heating Company should have given clear instructions to its workers, provided a method statement before undertaking the work and obtained plans of site services. It's essential that employers have safe working procedures for any work involving underground services, electrical plant, cabling or equipment."

Around 1,000 electrical accidents at work are reported to HSE each year and about 25 people die of their injuries.

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