A Redhill-based construction company has been ordered to pay £210,000 in fines and costs after an employee died following an explosion on a construction site in central London. The explosion occurred following damage to an 11,000 volt live cable within an excavation. The case is documented in the latest bulletin from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
Ioan Boboc, 22, a construction operative from north-west London, suffered burns over 60% of his body whilst he and other workers were using breakers and a shovel within the excavation at the corner of Charing Cross Road and Tottenham Court Road on 2 December 2008.
A hearing at Southwark Crown Court heard that Mr Boboc’s employer, Birse Metro Ltd, had not informed workers that there were live cables in the excavation and that the company had failed to put adequate measures in place prevent them from coming into contact with the cable.
The company pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and was fined £167,000 as well as being ordered to pay £43,000 in costs in the case brought by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
After the hearing, HSE inspector Lisa Chappell, said:
“The dangers associated with live underground cables are well-known to those carrying out groundwork’s in the construction industry. Clear guidance on avoiding contact with them (HSG 47 Avoiding Danger from Underground Services) is freely available to companies undertaking this work.
“This incident highlights the absolute necessity for such work to be properly planned and managed. Operatives should be briefed on the presence of cables and a safe system of working should be robustly enforced. Mr Boboc’s family continues to grieve the loss of a son and brother following an incident that could have easily been prevented.”
At Seaham Safety Services Ltd we have investigated similar incidents that whilst thankfully haven’t resulted in fatality, have sadly caused major injury. We cannot stress strongly enough the importance of ensuring that all excavation work is properly planned, managed and risk assessed. It is simply imperative that those carrying out such work are trained and competent to do so to avoid unnecessary risks to their health and safety.
On the 9th November 2012 we will be holding a cable avoidance tools training open day which will include information sessions and demonstrations on the use and benefits of the following Cable Avoidance Tools:
Radiodetection: CAT 3V + Genny / RD 4000 + Genny / RD 8000 + Genny
The Open day will also include information sessions and demonstrations on the Tetra ladder System (link to Tetra ladder open day blog post here), the use of Confined Spaces Equipment and other health and safety products and systems.
If you have any questions or would like further information about the cable avoidance tools training open day, please do not hesitate to get in touch:
Tel: 0191 581 8400 / 0844 225 0575
Unit 12C, Enterprise Court, Seaham Grange Industrial Estate, Seaham, County Durham, SR7 0PS