Cable hit caused by lack of plans and detection

Excavation for sign erection struck live electrical cable

A sign-fitting contractor has been fined £35,000 after a worker suffered multiple, serious burn injuries when the breaker he was using struck a live electrical cable at a hotel near Rotherham in September 2017.

Sheffield Magistrates heard how the 22-year-old employee was using the breaker to excavate an opening for the posts of a new sign when the tool struck a mains electricity cable causing a large flash.

The worker suffered burn injuries to the inside of his right arm, the top of his right hand, the inside of his left arm, and the right-hand side of his face. He also had burns to his hair, eyelashes, eyebrows and beard.

Planning and safe system of work missing

HSE investigators found that the company failed to use cable diagrams and a ground scanner to determine the presence of the electrical cable. In addition, no training had been given in the use of the breaker tool.

  • AR Signs Ltd – of Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire was found guilty of breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and has been fined £35,000 and ordered to pay £2,475 in costs.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Sarah Robinson commented:“This wholly avoidable incident was caused by the failure of the company to appropriately plan and execute a safe system of work whilst fitting the signs.

Companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.”