Worker burned after jack hammer hits 11,000v cable

Grant Prior 11 years ago
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A construction worker suffered 62% burns to his face and upper body after cutting through an 11,000 volt cable with a jack hammer.

Bradley Marsh, 28, from Ashford was in hospital for six weeks after the accident at a site in Tovil, Maidstone in June 2009.

Maidstone Magistrates Court heard that his employer Dwyer Engineering Services did not have a capable supervisor on site and there was also no suitable system in place for the identification of underground cables.

Marsh was also not trained to dig within 500mm of the live cables, a factor which led to the electrocution.

Dwyer Engineering Services was fined £20,000 and was also ordered to pay costs of £14,532.

Marsh still cannot expose himself to direct sunlight, due to skin grafts and his house has been adapted so he can sleep downstairs and he is unlikely to work again.

HSE Inspector, David Fussell, said: “This incident was wholly avoidable and demonstrates the need for site safety in the construction sector, especially as contact with live electricity is a common cause of serious incidents.

“In this case, the employer failed to assess the risks to the operator who was digging in close proximity to 11,000 volt electrical cables.

“The fact that serious injury or death can result from contact with electricity, either via personnel, machinery or vehicles, makes it all the more essential for employers to have safe working procedures for any work involving electrical plant, cabling or equipment.

“If Dwyer Engineering Services Ltd had been prepared to spend a little time locating underground services, using signs, maps, and locating devices, then this incident would have been avoided.”

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