Two construction companies in the UK have been fined after a man suffered multiple life-changing injuries, including severe burns to his neck.
BAM Construction Ltd had been contracted by Network Rail, owner and manager of most of the rail networks in England, to construct a new railway operating center. BAM later contracted Shoreland Projects Ltd as the groundworks contractor for the project.
When work began in January 2015 to install lampposts on the site entrance road, the fifth lamp post touched the 11-kV overhead power lines when it was being lifted into position by an excavator. The worker was then shocked, and a colleague rushed to his aid, using a piece of timber to push him away from the lamp column.
An investigation by UK's Health and Safety Executive found a failure to properly identify the presence of the overhead power lines and appropriately plan the work activity. No suitable control measures were in place to prevent contact with the overhead power lines. A number of workers were put at risk.
BAM Construction Limited pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 14 of the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989. The company has been fined £260,000 and ordered to pay costs of £9415.13.
Shoreland Projects Limited also pleaded guilty to contravening Regulation 14 of the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989, and has been fined £22,000 and ordered to pay costs of £8442.53.
HSE inspector William Christie said: “While this entirely preventable incident has had a permanent and very substantial effect on Mark’s life, his very serious injuries could have been even worse had it not been for the quick thinking of his colleague.
“This case highlights the importance for all work to be planned properly by all duty holders. Overhead power lines pose a significant threat to the safety of workers. Construction work in the vicinity of live conductors must be properly planned, managed and monitored to ensure the risks are controlled.”