CDM Coordinator (acting as Planning Supervisor under earlier CDM Regulations) prosecuted alongside contractor over 2006 cable strike

DSM Demolition Ltd and Gould Singleton Architects Ltd were fined after a demolition worker was engulfed in flames whilst cutting through an 11,000 volt cable at an electricity substation in Worcester in July 2006.

Worcester Crown Court heard that DSM was demolishing a metal casting foundry when the workman cut through a live cable connected to a switching unit on a substation. He was engulfed by flames and suffered 20 per cent burns leaving him with permanent disabilities. HSE investigators found that appointed Planning Supervisor (Gould Singleton Architects Ltd) and the demolition contractor (DSM) had failed to make adequate checks to ensure that the power supply had been disconnected.

Gould Singleton Architects Ltd told DSM that all services to the site had been terminated when the power supply remained live. DSM failed to ensure the electrical services had been disconnected before starting demolition. Gould Singleton Architects Ltd acted as Planning Supervisor and failed in their duty as CDM co-ordinators (as Planning Supervisors are known under the CM 2007 Regulations) must pass on ‘correct’ information

DSM Demolition Ltd of Birmingham breached Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act and was fined £40,000 and ordered to pay £100,000 costs.

Gould Singleton Architects Ltd of Halesowen breached Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and Regulation 15(3)(e) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 1994. The company was fined £20,000 and ordered to pay £20,872 costs.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Tariq Khan said:

“Neither of the two companies prosecuted today had made adequate checks to ensure that the power supply to the cable required to be cut by Mr Harris had been terminated. Had they done so then this incident would never have happened and Mr Harris would not have suffered such serious injuries. Construction, design and management co-ordinators must ensure that the information they pass on to contractors which could affect the safety of their workers is correct. Likewise, demolition contractors must follow safe systems of work at all times and ensure they check information provided to them about services on site with independent, competent sources.”

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