Digger bucket hits 20,000V electric cable

Grant Prior 5 years ago
Share

Two North East companies landed in court after a digger struck an underground cable during groundworks outside a factory in Hexham.

Newcastle Magistrates’ Court heard that the cable strike occurred on 19 March 2013 during work being undertaken for Campact Ltd – a subsidiary of products manufacturer Egger at its Hexham site.

The groundworks and civil engineering works were sub-contracted to Northern Construction Solutions Ltd.

On the day of the incident two workers, engaged on behalf of Northern Construction Solutions, were asked to excavate the area in front of a newly-built electric substation for the installation of drainage.

During the work the bucket of an excavator came into contact with a 20kV underground electric cable.

Both workers avoided injury, but it was a serious incident that sparked an HSE investigation.

Inspectors found that Egger was responsible for the provision of a services diagram that included the location of underground electric cables, and was also responsible for keeping it updated.

But the firm failed to update this diagram following the earlier construction of the substation and re-routing of the electric cables.

Consequently Northern Construction Solutions was not provided with up-to-date information regarding the location of the cables.

The court heard that although it was the duty of Egger to provide Northern Construction Solutions with appropriate information regarding the location of electric cables, the contractors equally had a duty to provide workers under their control with the information they needed.

Instead, they accepted the out-of-date services diagram, even though they knew there had been changes made in the area to be excavated.

Egger (UK) Ltd, of Hexham, Northumberland, was fined £8,000 and ordered to pay £578.90 costs after pleading guilty to a breach of the CDM regulations.

Northern Construction Solutions Ltd, of Chester le Street, Co Durham, was fined £4,000 and ordered to pay £761.60 costs after also pleading guilty to a CDM breach.

After the case, HSE Inspector Andrea Robbins said: “Fortunately nobody was hurt in this incident. However, the potential for serious, even fatal, injuries was foreseeable.

“Had both Egger and Northern Construction Solutions adequately planned and managed the risks arising from contact with live underground cables before the excavation work started, e.g. isolation of the services, provision of up-to-date and accurate information on the location of the underground services, then this incident would have most probably been avoided.

“The construction industry needs to be more aware of the dangers of working in the vicinity of live underground services.

“Appropriate planning and control measures should always be in place. A failure to do so could result in inadvertent contact with the live cables, the consequences of which can be fatal.”

Latest news

Kier on track with debt reduction efforts

Kier chief says firm is chipping away at £410m debt mountain
2 days ago

Winners revealed of £22m fund for on-site training hubs

Full list of 26 winners for new initiative to train on live construction sites
2 days ago

Bouygues UK south east chief exits

Darren Gill leaves after 22 years at Bouygues Construction
2 days ago

Wates wins £82m London Haringey tower job

Work starts on developer Anthology's 32-storey Hale Works resi block
2 days ago

B&K tipped for £60m Nottingham HMRC hub

Developers seal forward funding for Unity Square scheme
2 days ago

Regal to build £55m Lords retirement homes block

Over 55s housing scheme will be build next to London cricket ground
2 days ago

Caledonian takes £25m Wembley student pods order

Offsite specialist will deliver 680 bedroom modules for high-rise First Way Campus
2 days ago

Robertson wins pair of Glasgow hotel jobs

Marriott and Moxy hotels to be built next to SSE Hydro venue
2 days ago

Boost your online presence – join the new Enquirer Directory

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

Kier raises £24m from Australian road business sell-off

KHSA road assets and management services business offloaded to pay down debt
3 days ago

Wates rejigs construction senior management

Mark Tant promoted to new managing director role at construction division
4 days ago

Stansted Airport expansion wins council approval

Ambitious airport expansion plans scrape through local planning
3 days ago

Robot bricklayer builds house in under three days

Tech company hails a "quantum leap for the construction industry"
3 days ago

Lendlease lands Oxford Street office and retail scheme

Main construction work to start early next year at Oxford House
3 days ago

Green light for 335 PRS flats in Sheffield

Work to start next year on multi-block Sylvester Street scheme
3 days ago

Alun Griffiths signs £70m final phase Worcester link road

Contractor to start work in March on A4440 Worcester Southern Link Road
3 days ago

Interserve fights to quell stock market jitters

Share price rallies after plunging to all time low yesterday as group denies crisis
4 days ago

Crossrail contractors facing overtime clawback

Bills questioned in race to get the job completed
4 days ago

Heathrow names airport expansion delivery boss

KPMG's Emma-Jane Houghton joins in February and is in charge of procurement, contracts and costs
4 days ago

British Land aims to start £385m London project duo

Developer looks to start major Shoreditch scheme and Paddington hotel within 12 months
4 days ago

Work to start on Sheffield Park Hill estate student scheme

Work to start early next year on plan to convert former housing block to student rooms
4 days ago

East London raid saves modern slavery victims

Man arrested and six potential victims safeguarded
4 days ago

Contractor closes down concrete products business

Mounting losses force Concrete Products (Kirkcaldy) to cease trading
4 days ago

Payroll company ceases trading blaming VAT changes

Sprite shuts down as tax change looms which could have huge impact on construction
5 days ago

HS2 unveils Crewe Link £1.6bn civils bid plan

HS2 Phase 2a to be split into two civils packages worth over £750m
5 days ago

Plan for Sheffield’s tallest building approved

32-storey private rental flats scheme gains outline planning
5 days ago

McCarthy & Stone plans more competitive tendering regime

Retirement homes specialist advances building cost reduction plan
5 days ago

£384m North London community scheme approved

Britannia Leisure scheme will be built next to Shoreditch Park in Hackney
5 days ago

Forrest sites closed as contractor tries to refinance business

Company denies administration rumours as talks with banks continue
6 days ago

Pre-construction work starts on £1bn Silvertown Tunnel

Specialist ITM Monitoring lands deal under pioneering Tfl framework
5 days ago

Contractor services