Underground electric cables

Contracting Firm Fined after Worker Suffers Burns to Face & Hands

A contracting company has been prosecuted following an incident in which a worker suffered burns to his hands and face after he hit an underground cable whilst carrying out refurbishment work.

On 1st September 2011, a worker for Stewart and Shields Limited was digging holes in order to erect a fence at Heatheryknowe Primary School in East Kilbride. As he dug, the worker struck a 430v underground electric services cable, causing minor ‘flash burns’ to both his face and hands.

Following an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), it was found that Stewart and Shields Limited had access to site reports that included details of ‘buried services’. However, the company failed to provide workers with this information and to clearly mark where the cables were located. The HSE also found that the company failed to ensure all workers using digging devices were correctly trained.

Stewart and Shields Limited pleaded guilty at Hamilton Sheriff Court to breaching Regulation 34(3) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 and Section 33(1)(c) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The company received a fine of £7,500.

Graeme McMinn, HSE Inspector, said:

“There is an obligation on contractors to ensure that workers are informed of the dangers from buried underground services, and the need to ensure those services are located, checked and clearly marked.”

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Source: Health & Safety Executive