HSE says incident in which employee struck live buried electrical cable was 'easily avoidable'

A company has been fined after a worker received burns from a live electrical cable.

Trains (Rochdale) Ltd was fined £1,000 and ordered to pay costs of £2,000 after being found guilty of breaching the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989.

The incident occurred in August 2007 when an employee of Trains (Rochdale) was operating a mechanical breaker, which breaks up concrete, in Rochdale.

He had been attempting to install a post and rail fence around a car park owned by the firm, which was located on the site of a row of demolished terrace houses. While breaking up the concrete, he struck a buried live electrical cable and received burns to his left hand and arm.

Rosemary Leese-Weller, the Health and Safety Executive investigating inspector, said the incident was “easily avoidable”.

She added: “The employer had failed to provide plans of underground electrical cables and did not carry out scans of the area to locate any buried services.

"If the company had simply provided the plans, undertaken the scans and located the cable, digging in the area could have been avoided and this incident would never have occurred."

An investigation by the safety body showed that Trains (Rochdale) failed to provide the employee with a copy of service plans. It also did not carry out a scan of the area, which would have identified underground electrical cables.