Driller airlifted to hospital after hitting 11kv cable

Grant Prior 14 years ago
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A Solihull groundworks specialist has been fined £13,000 after one of its workers suffered severe burns when his drill hit a power cable.

The worker, who asked not to be named, was using a pneumatic drill to dig a trench at the Taylor Wimpey housing development at Westminster Place in Rushall, Walsall, when he struck an 11kv cable under the pavement on 13 August 2009.

He suffered severe burns from the resulting flash and was airlifted to Selly Oak Hospital in Birmingham for emergency treatment.

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found that Pacestone Construction had failed to take sufficient steps to protect its employees from the risk presented by underground cables. The worker was unaware of where they were located on the site.

Pacestone Construction Limited, of Freda House, Oak Farm, Catherine De Barnes, pleaded guilty to breaching the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007. It was fined £13,000 and ordered to pay £3,870 costs by Walsall Magistrates’ Court.

HSE inspector David Price said: “This incident was entirely preventable had the company taken sensible precautions.

“Using a cable detector, marking the location of cables and only allowing workers to use hand tools when digging in the proximity of live services would have avoided the risk of hitting cables

“Serious injury or even death can result from contact with electricity. It’s essential that employers have safe working procedures for any work involving electrical plant, cabling or equipment.”

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