Before starting a job you must assess the significant hazards and risk of someone being harmed. A firm that failed to do just that has been heavily fined.

A workman suffered severe burns after he struck an 11,000-volt underground cable with a power tool. The company responsible for managing the work had not identified the hazards associated with working underground.

The workman was replacing a traffic light pole when he came into contact with the live cable.

HSE investigation

The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) found the offending company did not provide adequate information on the location of underground services. Its investigation also discovered:

  • work was not adequately supervised
  • risks from the underground services had not been properly managed.

Sentence

At trial, the court heard the associated risks had not been suitably assessed and Amey LG Ltd pleaded guilty to breaking Health & Safety regulations.

It was fined £600,000 and ordered to pay costs of £15,400.

The HSE said the incident could have been avoided had the company given adequate information to the team working on site and had it made sure work was properly planned and supervised.

 

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