Contractors fined £1.8m after cable-strike explosion damaged worker’s eye

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VolkerInfra and Siemens Energy person been deed with fines worthy a combined £1.8m aft a worker’s retina was damaged by an detonation caused by a cablegram onslaught during operation enactment astatine a substation.

Manchester Magistrates’ Court heard however VolkerInfra, a high-voltage-cabling contractor, had been subcontracted by main contractor Siemens Energy to transportation retired works arsenic portion of a wider operation task astatine Whitegate Substation successful Chadderton, Manchester.

On 17 September 2019, an worker of VolkerInfra, who was excavating phases for laying a 275kV cable, struck an existing unrecorded cablegram adjacent by with the excavator. The interaction resulted successful aggregate explosions that caused blistering to the driver’s retina.

An probe by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) recovered that the licence to excavation had not been decently completed by Siemens Energy. It was besides recovered that neither the institution nor the subcontractor had checked the cablegram markings anterior to enactment commencing.

The existing unrecorded cablegram had not been adequately identified, truthful the markings for the cablegram determination were incorrect by astir 50cm. It was besides recovered that determination had been inadequate monitoring and supervision of work.

Siemens Energy was fined £900,000 and ordered to wage costs of £6,327.52 aft pleading blameworthy to breaching Regulation 13(1) of the Construction Design and Management Regulations 2015 and Section 3 (1) Health & Safety astatine Work etc. Act 1974.

Meanwhile, VolkerInfra pleaded blameworthy to breaches of Section 3 (1) Health & Safety astatine Work etc. Act 1974, and was fined £180,000 and ordered to wage costs of £6,430.72.

HSE inspector Rebecca Vaudrey said: "Those successful power of enactment person a work to devise harmless methods of moving and to supply the indispensable information, acquisition and grooming to their workers successful the harmless strategy of working."

Data released by energy distributor UK Power Networks past week revealed that 23 per cent of cable-damage incidents successful 2021 progressive gathering work, which was the highest incidence complaint among the trades.

According to the HSE, which regulates workplace information successful the UK, three operation workers died from the handling of energy betwixt April and December 2021. It was the 2nd biggest origin of death, aft falls from height.