Health and Safety News

Occupational health and safety news and guidance

Council-owned firm fined after worker receives electric shock

Swindon Commercial Services, a wholly owned subsidiary of Swindon Borough Council, has been fined after an agency employee received an electric shock whilst securing fencing at a play area.

The worker had undertaken work for Swindon Commercial Services for a number of years and was working at the town's Shaw Ridge Play Park when the incident happened on 23 April 2010.

The worker, who lives in the town, was hitting metal road pins into soft ground in order to secure temporary fencing at the renovation project, when one of the pins he was holding made contact with a high voltage underground electric cable. He suffered burns to his hands and chest.

On 2 July, Swindon Commercial Services, of Cheney Manor Industrial Estate, pleaded guilty at Swindon Magistrates' Court to breaching Section 34(3) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 in a prosecution brought by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). The company was fined £12,000 and ordered to pay costs of £4,403.

HSE's investigation found that Swindon Commercial Services failed to plan the work properly.  The company did not carry out an appropriate risk assessment and did not refer to plans of underground services from the appropriate utility companies. The company also failed to provide cable avoidance tools to locate and mark and underground services.


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