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Worker burned by ‘jet of fire’

Posted in: Workplace Injuries 

A sub-contractor from Highley has been fined for safety breaches after a worker was burned by a ‘jet of fire’ when he hit an underground electricity cable with a steel pin while replacing pavement edging in Birmingham.

The worker escaped with minor burns to his arms and eyebrows and had his clothing singed when the 415 volt cable sent a ‘jet of fire’ up the steel pin.

During the HSE‘s prosecution, Birmingham Magistrates’ Court heard that the contractor had been subcontracted to undertake the work and provided with information stating there were buried utility services on-site. He was responsible for scanning the pavement with a specialist tool to identify their location before work started.

After wrongly marking where the cable lay, he instructed one of his operatives to carry out the edging work. When the worker wrapped a piece of nylon around the steel pin it made contact with the 415 volt underground live cable and an explosion ‘like a roman candle’ occurred.

The subcontractor pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 25 (1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007. He was fined £2,500 and ordered to pay costs of £4,727.


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