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November 18, 2011

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Untrained worker burnt in power-cable explosion

A construction worker has been left permanently scarred after he struck an underground cable while carrying out digging work outside his company’s head office.
Richard Baisley, 26, was asked by his employer, Kim Barker Construction Ltd, to install a company sign outside the front gate of its office at Flixborough Industrial Estate in Scunthorpe, on 26 October 2009.
Mr Baisley was not trained to do groundwork and was not given a map of where underground cables were present in the area that the sign was to be installed. He began digging two holes the gate entrance with a hired drill, so that he could install large poles, to support the sign. When the concrete gave way the drill pierced a 415-volt power cable, which was half a metre below the ground, and caused an electrical explosion. He suffered serious burns to his hands, arms, face and chest, which have left him with permanent scarring.
HSE inspector John Dutton told SHP that the company had created a method statement and risk assessment for the work, but these were not suitable, as they did not instruct Mr Baisley to use scanning equipment to identify the precise location of power cables. The work was not properly supervised and the incident could have been avoided if the sign had either been installed in an area away from the underground cables, or if it had been installed on the gate itself. €

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