29 September 2015
The Dangers of Cable Strikes
Slater and Gordon Personal Injury Lawyers examine the dangers of cable strikes.
What is a Cable Strike?
A Cable strike is simply when an underground cable is hit. This can happen when carrying out work with a digger or a spade.
When a cable strike takes place there is a very real danger of getting electrocuted. The consequences can be fatal. This is why it is so important to minimalise the risks of having a cable strike accident at work.
How to Minimalise the Risks of Cable Strikes
This can be achieved by planning excavation work appropriately. It would involve looking at up-to-date diagrams showing the location of underground cables before choosing the safest place to dig.
Employers have a duty of care to their employees. This includes planning how employees can carry out their work with minimum risk to their health and safety. Whenever there is the risk of a cable strike, employers must plan the work out with caution so as to avoid danger. Nobody wants to have a fatal accident at work on their hands, so employers must ensure that all work that is carried out near electrical systems is planned out so as to minimise the risk of a cable strike.
Unfortunately, Berneslai Homes Ltd did not meet safety standards when they were carrying out work on homes for Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council. One of their joiners was lucky not to suffer any lasting injuries when they struck an electric cable with a spade whilst replacing a garden fence.
Northern Construction Solutions Ltd was also fortunate. They got away with fines after they too failed to plan out work safely when there was the risk of a cable strike.
The location where they were installing a drainage system had underground electric cables that had been re-routed during an earlier construction project. Northern Construction Solutions therefore needed to obtain an up to date services diagram from the site owners. Egger, the wood based panel manufacturer, was in charge of keeping this diagram up to date, but they failed to do so.
As a result, a 20kV electric cable was hit by the bucket of an excavator. The two workers in charge of the machinery who were asked to carry out the excavation could have been killed.
The hefty fines that the Health and Safety Executive made Northern Construction Solutions and Egger pay show how serious they take employers responsibility to carefully plan work where there is a risk of a cable strike.
Matthew Tomlinson is a Senior Personal Injury Solicitor at Slater and Gordon Lawyers in Sheffield.
If you have sustained a serious injury in an accident at work, you can call the No Win No Fee Personal Injury Lawyers at Slater and Gordon Lawyers anytime 24/7 on freephone 0800 916 9046 or contact us online.
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