Kim Barker Construction Ltd has been fined £13,000 plus £2,039.10 costs after one of its workers suffered serious burns.
Richard Baisley, aged 26, was injured in 2009 when he was preparing the ground for a sign to be erected. He drilled through a 415-volt underground cable, causing an electrical explosion. This left him with burns on his face, chest, hands and arms.
Mr Baisley and a colleague were instructed by a director to dig two holes outside the entrance to their site erected so that a new company sign could be put up. After the workers began digging, they hit concrete, so they hired a drill in order to break through it. When Mr Baisley began drilling, he penetrated the concrete and then sliced through the electrical cable.
Mr Baisley had to stay in hospital for three days, and has been left with permanent scars. He was unable to continue working as a welder.
Scunthorpe Magistrates’ Court heard that the company had failed to establish the location of the cable, and the company admitted a health and safety breach.
John Dutton, an inspector from the Health and Safety Executive, said that this case shows how even when a job seems simple and straightforward, it can have “serious, if not fatal consequences if not properly planned.” He added that many companies can learn lessons from this case, and said: “first and foremost, when digging where underground services may be present, a firm needs to carry out an investigation to locate these services.”