A construction worker suffered life changing injuries while laying electricity cables in a trench, a court has heard.
Ashley Coe, an agency worker, received an electric shock from an overhead power line in the incident in March 2013.
He has lost much of his independence and is unlikely to ever work again.
Work not properly planned
British Solar Renewables Limited (BSR) was installing a solar farm on a site at Knockworthy Farm in Great Torrington. It hired Pascon Limited as the subcontractor for the job, Exeter Crown Court was told.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found neither company properly planned, managed or monitored the work.
The construction site was not set up with appropriate measures to control the risks of working under overhead power lines. BSR failed to install goal posts and signage to warn of the presence of overhead power lines in the area, while Pascon Limited used an unsafe method of installing the cables in the trench.
An excavator being used for the task tracked underneath a 33kV overhead power line and struck it.
Mr Coe, who was helping to control a cable drum suspended from the arm of the excavator, received an almost fatal electric shock. Two other workers received shocks but escaped serious injury.
‘Could have been prevented’
Paramedics had to resuscitate Mr Coe at the scene. The 33kV electric shock left him with a life changing brain injury that has affected him in many ways.
He suffers with short term memory loss, has some mobility issues and no longer feels pain. His speech has also been affected.
HSE Inspector James Lucas says the accident at work could have been prevented if both companies had taken appropriate measures to control the risks associated with the work.
BSR was charged with breaching Regulation 34(2) of the CDM Regulations 2007. It was fined £250,000 and ordered to pay costs of £72,466.
Pascon Limited was fined £35,000 and ordered to make a £25,000 contribution to costs after admitting a breach of Regulation 13(2) of the CDM 2007.
Source: Health and Safety Executive
Date Published: February 3, 2016
Author: Jonathan Brown