Firm fined £600,000 after workman set on fire in Gloucester

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Media captionThe workman hit a live electric cable as he was working to move a traffic light pole

A contractor has been fined £600,000 after a workman was severely burned when he hit an 11,000-volt cable with a pneumatic drill.

The man, who was working for a sub-contractor, was engulfed in flames and suffered severe injuries when it happened in Gloucester in May 2015.

Amey LG Ltd pleaded guilty at Gloucester Crown Court to breaching health and safety regulations.

The firm said it regretted the incident and had since reviewed its procedures.

Image copyright HSE
Image caption Steven Brown from Swindon suffered serious burns to his hands, face and arms after being set on fire in the incident

The court heard that workman Steven Brown, from Swindon, was working for Richens Ltd, a sub-contractor on behalf of Amey, to install a new set of traffic lights in Eastgate Street in the city centre.

He suffered severe burns to his hands, face and arms, and was put in an induced coma for two weeks, after he hit the live cable with a tool used to break up concrete.

The court heard that despite a risk assessment being done not all of it was communicated to the sub-contractors, and there was also a lack of supervision on site.

A spokesman for Oxford-based Amey said: "We regret that this incident took place and that the employee of one of our supply chain was injured.

"Since the incident we have reviewed our procedures with respect to the work being carried out at the time of the incident to prevent similar incidents occurring."

Image copyright HSE
Image caption Amey LG Ltd was fined £600,000 at Gloucester Crown Court

Hundreds of homes and businesses in the GL1 postcode area went without power for a short time after the incident.

Helena Tinton from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) said: "This man suffered life changing injuries as a result of this incident.

"He's not been able to return to work, he still can't use his hands properly and has been left both physically and mentally scarred by what happened.

"Had Amey given adequate information to the team working on site, and had Amey ensured the work was properly planned and supervised, this incident could have been avoided."

Image copyright HSE
Image caption Hundreds of homes and businesses in the GL1 area went without power for a short time after the incident

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