Safety Signs News

Electric cabling must be clearly marked, HSE says

17th November 2010 | Warning Signs

Posted by Nicole Stevens.

Warning signs alerting a worker to the presence of underground cabling may have stopped him from suffering burns.

Walsall Magistrates' Court this week heard how the employee, of Solihull-based Pacestone Construction Limited, was operating a pneumatic drill to dig a trench at a housing development in August last year.

When doing so, he made contact with an 11kv cable beneath the pavement, suffering severe burns. He was airlifted to Selly Oak Hospital to undergo emergency treatment.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) concluded that Pacestone did not take appropriate steps to protect its workers from the risk of underground cabling. The employee was not aware where they were on the site.

The firm pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 34(3) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007, and was fined £13,000 and ordered to pay £3,870 costs.

HSE inspector David Price said: "This incident was entirely preventable had the company taken sensible precautions. Using a cable detector, marking the location of cables and only allowing workers to use hand tools when digging in the proximity of live services would have avoided the risk of hitting cables."

Every year, about 1,000 electrical accidents at work are reported to the HSE, the regulator said.
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