16 July 2008
Employer issued fine following worker death
The death of an employee has resulted in a local authority being issued a fine.
In November 2006, Ben Richardson, who worked on a housing repair team with Dacorum borough council, was called out to help plumbers fix a burst water main in the Hertfordshire town of Hemel Hempstead.
He clamped an electric cable, believing it to be a domestic water main. The cable subsequently ruptured, sending a massive current through the 29-year-old's body and causing him to lose his life.
During a recent hearing at St Albans magistrates' court, Dacorum borough council was issued a fine of £37,500, plus costs of £17,500, after it pleaded guilty to breaching health and safety regulations.
Commenting on the case, Health and Safety Executive inspector Trevor Morrow said: "I hope this tragic incident makes it clear to employers that they need to take positive steps to risk assess the obvious hazards involved with underground work - such as electricity and gas - and to manage them."