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Worker seriously burned after cutting through 11,000 volt cable in Worcester

high voltageTwo companies have been fined after a demolition worker was engulfed in flames when he cut through a live 11,000 volt cable at an electricity substation in Worcester.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted Birmingham firm DSM Demolition Ltd. and Halesowen-based Gould Singleton Architects Ltd (GSA) following the incident on 14 July 2006.

Worcester Crown Court heard today that DSM was demolishing a metal casting foundry in Wainwright Road, Worcester, when employee Lee Harris, 35, was told to cut through a cable, which was connected to a switching unit on a substation on the site, which was still live.

As the machine he was using to cut through the cable came into contact with the live conductors, he was engulfed by flames, suffering 20 per cent burns, which have left him with permanent disabilities and requiring skin grafts.

HSE's investigation into the incident found that neither planning supervisor GSA nor demolition contractor DSM had made adequate checks to ensure that the electricity on the site had been disconnected.

DSM Demolition Ltd, of Arden Road, Birmingham, was found guilty on 26 September 2011 of breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act. The company was today fined £40,000 and ordered to pay £100,000 costs.

Gould Singleton Architects Ltd, of Whitehall Road, Halesowen, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and Regulation 15(3)(e) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 1994. The company was fined £20,000 and ordered to pay £20,872 costs.


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