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Groundworks contractor prosecuted over cable strike

G&R Groundworks has been fined after an operative struck an underground electricity cable resulting in multiple serious burns.

Image credit | HSE

On 15 October 2018, G&R Groundworks (South East) workers were using an electric ground breaker to dig fence post holes for a car park perimeter fence at a site in Ramsgate, Kent. While operating the breaker, one of the operatives struck an 11kv electricity cable causing a large flash and engulfing him in flames.

The victim sustained serious burns to his face, chest, abdomen, groin, both arms and both legs, amounting to approximately 50% total body surface area burns.

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found that G&R Groundworks (South East) failed to source and refer to the underground services plans prior to breaking the ground to determine the location of any cables within the planned working area.

It also failed to provide its operatives with cable identification equipment to further locate any cables within that area.

Earlier this week at Folkestone Magistrates’ Court, G&R Groundworks (South East) admitted breaching regulation 25 (4) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015  and was fined £32,400 plus £2,657 costs.


Kellie is a freelance writer and former online editor of the Health and Safety at Work website.

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