Company fined after worker seriously burnt

27 November 2014

A company, contracted to undertake work on behalf of a third party organisation, has been fined £350,000 and ordered to pay costs of £50,000 after pleading guilty to safety failings, which lead to a worker suffering 45 per cent burns after coming into contact with overhead power lines, carrying 25,000 volts, which had not been isolated.

Following an investigation into the incident, a court heard that workers, sub-contracted by the company, were working from cherrypickers installing high voltage cable alongside an existing overhead wire.

One of the high voltage overhead wires, which crossed the site, had not been isolated, a fact unknown to those working on the site.

The investigation found that:

  • The company had failed to properly plan the work.
  • The company had not provided sufficient instructions to workers nor were appropriate warnings provided about the risks.
  • There was poor communication between the planning and construction teams, which lead to the electric current, from all relevant sections of the overhead wire, not being switched off.

Citation says: This case also highlights how important it is for work to be properly managed with risks suitably controlled and the requirement for all contractor organisations on site to communicate with each other, so that workers are not put at unnecessary risk of harm.

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