A worker was burned in a “jet of fire” after striking an underground electricity cable during maintenance work.
The unnamed man was working to replace pavement edging in Birmingham when the accident happened in August 2011. The incident occurred when a steel pin wrapped in nylon struck a 415volt underground electricity cable.
This caused an explosion, and what has been described as a “jet of fire” coming up the steel from the cable. The man suffered burns to his arms and eyebrows from the flames, and his clothing was singed.
An investigation by the HSE found that the sub-contractor (who was responsible for the job and the worker) had wrongly identified the location of the cable. The sub-contractor (Ricky Paul James) had been informed of the presence of utility cables at the site.
Mr James had marked the location of the cable in the wrong position before the edging work began. A fine of £2,500 was issued to Mr James this week after he pleaded guilty to breaking Construction Regulations.
The injured worker was later described as “lucky to be alive” by a HSE inspector, who also stated that the work could have been carried out whilst avoiding having steel pins penetrating the ground.