Manchester Magistrates’ Court heard how high voltage cabling contractor VolkerInfra, had been subcontracted by Siemens to carry out cabling works as part of a wider construction project at Whitegate Substation in Chadderton, Manchester.
On September 17 2019, an employee of VolkerInfra, who was excavating phases for laying a 275kV cable, struck an existing live cable close by with the excavator.
The contact resulted in multiple explosions which caused blistering to the driver’s retina.
An HSE investigation found the permit to dig had not been properly completed by Siemens Energy. It was also found neither they, nor the subcontractors had checked the cable markings prior to work commencing.
The existing live cable had not been adequately identified and so the markings for the cable location were incorrect by around 50cm. It was also found there had been inadequate monitoring and supervision of work.
Siemens Energy Ltd of Camberley, Surrey pleaded guilty to breaching safety regulations and was fined £900,000 and ordered to pay costs of £6,327.52.
Volkerinfra Ltd of Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire also pleaded guilty and was fined £180,000 and ordered to pay costs of £6,430.72.
HSE Inspector Rebecca Vaudrey said after the hearing:” Those in control of work have a responsibility to devise safe methods of working and to provide the necessary information, instruction and training to their workers in the safe system of working.”