Construction Company Fined Over Worker's Death

A Surrey-based construction company has been ordered to pay £210,000 in fines and costs after an employee died from injuries he sustained in an explosion on a construction site in central London.

Ioan Boboc, 22, suffered burns to 60 per cent of his body in the explosion, which occurred as a result of damage to an 11,000-volt live cable. He and other workers were using breakers and a shovel whilst excavating a site at the corner of Charing Cross Road and Tottenham Court Road in December 2008.

Mr Boboc’s employer, Birse Metro Ltd., had not informed workers that there were live cables in the area being excavated and had failed to put adequate measures in place to prevent the workers from coming into contact with the power cable.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) brought a case against Birse Metro Ltd., which pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The company was fined £167,000 and ordered to pay £43,000 in costs.

HSE Inspector Lisa Chappell said, “The dangers associated with live underground cables are well-known to those carrying out groundworks in the construction industry. Clear guidance on avoiding contact with them is freely available to companies undertaking this work.

“This incident highlights the absolute necessity for such work to be properly planned and managed. Operatives should be briefed on the presence of cables and a safe system of working should be robustly enforced. Mr Boboc’s family continues to grieve the loss of a son and brother following an incident that could have easily been prevented.”

In the year 2011/2012, there were 49 fatal injuries to construction workers in Britain – a rate of 2.3 deaths per 100,000 workers. This compares with 50 in the year 2010/2011. The average number of deaths per year over the last five years was 59.

The HSE has role-specific advice for employers and employees working in the construction industry.

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