An Oxford-based infrastructure firm has been fined hundreds of thousands of pounds after an employee was electrocuted while working.
Steven Brown, 61, from Swindon, suffered life-changing injuries when 11,000 volts surged through him and set him on fire, while he was working on traffic lights on Eastgate Street, Gloucester on May 28, 2015.
Placed into coma for two weeks
Mr Brown was airlifted to a special unit in Cardiff and treated for severe burns to his face, leg and abdomen. He was then transferred to Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham where he was placed into an induced coma for two weeks.
When the incident occurred, Mr Brown was working for a sub-contractor to the firm Amey LG Limited – highways contractors for Gloucestershire County Council.
Amey – a corporation with more than 20,000 employees – has been fined £600,000 after pleading guilty to health and safety breaches at Gloucester Crown Court.
A principal inspector for the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), Helena Tinton, said: “This man suffered life-changing injuries as a result of this incident.
“He’s not been able to return to work, he still can’t use his hands properly and has been left both physically and mentally scarred by what happened.”
An avoidable incident
An HSE investigation found that Amey LG had failed to provide workers with sufficient information on the location of a live underground cable.
Ms Tinton said: “Had Amey given adequate information to the team working on site, and had Amey ensured the work was properly planned and supervised, this incident could have been avoided.”
Amey LG Limited pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 25 (4) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015.
Judge Michael Cullum ordered the firm to pay a fine of £600,000 and costs of £15,498.
“This case should act as a reminder to local authorities and their contractors of the risks of working underground and the danger of severe electric shocks,” Ms Tinton added.
Source: Health and Safety Executive
Date Published: March 18, 2017
Author: Jonathan Brown