A SOLIHULL construction firm has been fined £13,000 after one of its workers suffered burns when his pneumatic drill hit a power cable.
The worker, who asked not to be named, was digging a trench at a housing development in Walsall in August 2009, when he struck an 11kv cable under the pavement.
He suffered severe burns from the resulting surge and was airlifted to Selly Oak Hospital in Birmingham for emergency treatment.
A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found that Pacestone Construction Ltd of Freda House, Oak Farm, Catherine De Barnes, had failed to take sufficient steps to protect its employees from the risk presented by underground cables.
The worker was unaware of where they were located on the site.
Pacestone pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 34(3) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007.
It was also ordered to pay £3,870 costs by Walsall Magistrates’ Court.
HSE inspector David Price said: “This incident was entirely preventable had the company taken sensible precautions.
“Using a cable detector, marking the location of cables and only allowing workers to use hand tools when digging in the proximity of live services would have avoided the risk of hitting cables.”
About 25 people die each year in accidents at work involving electricity, according to the HSE.