Electric fireball vaporises workers drill

Grant Prior 6 years ago
Share

A property company and its manager have been fined after two workers were engulfed in a fireball when they cut through a live 1,000 volt cable at an industrial unit in Telford.

hse logo

The estimated power of the fireball was equivalent to 4.3 million watts of energy.

The heat was so intense that part of the electrical breaker’s metal tool was vaporised and a 500 amp fuse was blown in a nearby electrical substation.

The Health and Safety Executive prosecuted Birmingham firm RVB Investments UK Ltd and manager Clifford Leigh following the incident on 10 August 2010.

Telford Magistrates’ Court heard RVB Investments’ employees Eamonn Osborne, 53, and David Rawlins, 46, had been told to find an underground water leak at an empty industrial unit owned by the company at Halesfield 5, Telford.

Leigh instructed them to dig at a spot outside the unit. Using an electrical drill, they drilled nearly 40cm into the ground until they hit a live 1,000 volt cable.

They were engulfed in a fireball and suffered burns to their hands, arms and faces.

Both were airlifted to hospital and Osborne was so seriously injured that for the first few days, doctors believed he might not survive.

RVB Investments had not assessed the risks involved, devised a safe system of work or obtained site plans of the area, checked whether there were any electrical cables underground or used safe digging methods.

The two men had also received no training about the dangers arising from underground services.

RVB Investments pleaded guilty to safety breaches and was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay £4,420 costs.

Clifford Leigh, of Birmingham, also pleaded and was fined £2,000 and ordered to pay £1,000 costs.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE principal inspector Nic Rigby said: “Companies must take measures to protect workers who are digging into the ground, where gas and electricity services may be found.”

Latest news

Carillion woes hit King’s Cross office project

Hunt on for a new contractor to deliver 11-storey office scheme
21 hours ago

Persimmon chairman resigns after bonus controversy

House builder admits £100m+ bonus plan should have been capped
21 hours ago

Green light for 1,300 homes at Nestlé factory

Barratt London to build 1,300 homes at former factory site in on outskirts of west London
21 hours ago

Galliford Try lands £54m Manchester Airport project

Contractor wins second taxiway project on £1bn airport upgrade
21 hours ago

Czech facade specialist starts £60m London job

Sipral starts Canary Wharf residential twin towers for Ecoworld Ballymore jv
1 day ago

McLaren gets start date for £58m Banbury shopping centre

Construction to begin in February on Castle Quay expansion
21 hours ago

Winners named for £400m infrastructure consultancy

Costain and Mace among line-up for Crown Commercial Services infrastructure framework
1 day ago

Contractor in court after workers exposed to silica dust

Safety inspectors find workers dry cutting bricks in a basement
21 hours ago

Betting Spy: David Moyes – an apology

The West Ham boss is working his magic and the Irons are a good bet away at stuttering Stoke
1 day ago

Boost your online presence with the new Enquirer Directory

New site for suppliers and buyers will showcase their products, services and latest stories
2 months ago

Crossrail site protest as Balfour lays off 50 sparks

Contractor insists redundancies are unconnected to £5,000-a-head finishing bonus demands
3 days ago

Interserve seals £180m lending deal for extra headroom

Debbie White seals deal for more time to restructure business
2 days ago

Severfield lands steelwork package for Google HQ

Specialist to start work in June for main contractor Lendlease at King's Cross site
2 days ago

Kier secures £138m London health deal

Kier P22 work haul soars to £400m
2 days ago

Scape research reveals need for huge school building push

Procurement body calls for national school building strategy
2 days ago

Carillion wins another £11.6m rail electrification deal

Network Rail awards station upgrade deal on Glasgow to Edinburgh route
3 days ago

Galliford Try wins £24m M49 junction

Work to start on new junction at Avonmouth in the New Year
2 days ago

Costain director joins pipe-lining specialist

Tim Bowen takes the helm at Aquam to deliver ambitious expansion plan
3 days ago

Highways England to trial self healing roads

Sunflower oil capsules in asphalt could save £260m a year
3 days ago

Tarmac swaps quarries for Breedon concrete plants

Tarmac offloads four quarries for 27 Breedon ready-mixed concrete plants
3 days ago

Mace wins £140m London School of Economics project

Work to start on Marshall building once McGee completes demolition in the spring
3 days ago

Construction start date for £350m Tower Hamlets site

Planning go-ahead for Galliard Homes and Lindhill at Ailsa Wharf
4 days ago

Specialist Mick George moves into housebuilding

Civils contractor forms joint venture to target housing market
3 days ago

Fusion21 launches £150m sprinkler supplier panel

Local authorities and housing associations call for post-Grenfell preferred supplier list
3 days ago

Ardmore wins £77m Stratford hotel contract

Two-year build programme gets underway at the 18-storey Gantry development
4 days ago

Lovell to start £30m Doncaster Lakeside scheme

Eastern division boasts £100m forward order book from string of schemes
3 days ago

Balfour Beatty on track for 2-3% margin by late 2018

Leo Quinn confident of paying down borrowings as they fall due in 2018
4 days ago

Skanska and Multiplex eye £100m City fringe office job

Aldgate Developments prepares to start £100m phase 2 office complex
4 days ago

Speller Metcalfe wins “non-confrontational” £16m contract

Contractor to start revamp of Derby Silk Mill next year using innovative procurement model
4 days ago

Plans for new £80m library at University of Bristol

Design team appointed as construction set to start in summer of 2019
4 days ago

Contractor services