Firm fined after horrific burn injury to employee

A Kent construction company has been fined after an employee suffered severe injury last summer.

Bradley Marsh was working at a construction site in Tovil, Maidstone, Berkshire in June 2009 when his pneumatic drill touched underground cables carrying an 11,000 volt current.

He suffered 62% burns to his face, neck, arms and upper body in the accident. His employer, Dwyer Engineering of Ashford, Kent, was fined £20,000 and ordered to pay nearly £15,000 in costs after Health and Safety inspectors found that several regulations had been breached. There was no site supervisor of sufficient standing at the time and Mr Marsh had not been trained to dig within 500mm of the cables.

Mr Marsh, who is unlikely to work again and has to sleep downstairs in a newly-adapted house, could be eligible to make a work injury claim from his former employers.

HSE Inspector, David Fussell, said: “This incident was wholly avoidable and demonstrates the need for site safety in the construction sector, especially as contact with live electricity is a common cause of serious incidents. In this case, the employer failed to assess the risks to the operator who was digging in close proximity to 11,000 volt electrical cables.

“The fact that serious injury or death can result from contact with electricity, either via personnel, machinery or vehicles, makes it all the more essential for employers to have safe working procedures for any work involving electrical plant, cabling or equipment.”

Source: Philip Poynter Construction Safety

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