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Company fined for serious safety breaches

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30 November 2017

A company undertaking excavation work has been fined for safety breaches, when a worker was burned after striking underground electrical cables.

Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court heard that in February 2016 an employee of the company was excavating the ground at a site in Loughton, Essex.  He struck an electrical cable and received significant burns to his lower body, causing him to be hospitalised for one month and unable to work for six weeks.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the company failed to adequately plan, manage and monitor the construction work; failed to obtain drawings from the utility company detailing the position of underground cables, and did not re-scan the affected ground to a sufficient depth while excavation work was ongoing.

Both the injured person and the employee responsible for scanning the ground did not receive training for their tasks, despite this being detailed in the company’s risk assessments and method statements.

The company pleaded guilty to breaching regulation 13(1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 and was fined £25,000, plus costs of nearly £4,000.

After the hearing HSE inspector David King said: “The contractor’s injuries were very serious, and he could have easily been killed. This injury would have been prevented if the company had planned and implemented safe methods of working, and provided the necessary information and training to its workers.”

ECA Health & Safety Support

There are H&S tools and templates on the ECA website that can help members to plan and monitor various work activities:

In addition, free support to members is available from ECA’s preferred health and safety advisors KeyOstas on 01926 818820. 

ECA also provides two free e-products – eRAMS (electronic Risk Assessment and Method Statement) and eCPP (electronic Construction Phase Plan) - to members:


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