The pharmaceutical firm Medpharma Ltd has been ordered to pay £100, 000 in fines and costs after failing to ensure a safe working environment for their employees working on the building site.
The accident happened when the 41 year old labourer who was working on a building site for the refurbishment of a pharmacy in central London struck a 415v electricity cable while digging a trench to lay a new sewage pipe.
The worker suffered horrific burn injuries and is now unable to work and is registered disabled due to the burns suffered to his body and throat.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) carried out an investigation of the accident which occurred in Edgware Road, in July 2013. Following the HSE investigation they decided to prosecute the company responsible for the work, Medpharma Ltd as it was determined that they had breached health & safety laws.
The Southwark Crown Court ordered Medpharma Ltd to pay £40,000 in costs and fined them £60,000 after finding them guilty at an earlier trial to breaching the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Stephron Baker Holmes said: “This case follows a terrible incident that left a man seriously injured, with consequences that he is still living with two years later.
“Where digging work is liable to disturb underground services it is vital to take suitable and sufficient steps to control the risks.
“One of the client’s key mistakes in this case was to take on practical control of the work during the project without having the necessary understanding to be able to manage construction work safely.”
Whilst it is accepted that building sites are inherently dangerous places to work in, every employer has a duty of care to their employees to ensure the workplace is risk free and safe as much as can be reasonably expected.