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Fine for Fugro Engineering Services Ltd

During a sentencing hearing, the Central Criminal Court heard how on the 7 February, 2008, an unidentified employee of Fugro Engineering Services Limited, while operating a hydraulic breaker, struck a high voltage cable. The employee, aged 63 at the time of the accident, sustained severe injuries and was treated for life threatening burns over sixty percent of his body.
At the time of the accident, reports show that the employee was working on the construction of the new Cross-rail railway, to create an inspection pit for a borehole, outside 1 Hanover Street London. His employers had been appointed as the principle contractor for the delivery of a series of investigations, termed “Package 16”. It was part of the multi-billion pound rail project designed to connect Maidenhead, Shenfield and Abbey Wood with Central London.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) carried out an investigation into the circumstances of the accident. Their findings showed that the system of work operating at the time of the accident did not clearly define the roles of those involved in the project. Among the deficiencies were that effective lines of communication were not established and appropriate training for operatives in safe digging techniques had not been undertaken.

It is further reported that important safety documentation which identified the presence of the cable, was not available at the borehole location. Although the site had been subjected to a cable avoidance tool scan designed to detect underground services, there were no indicative markings on the road as to where cables were located.

A plea of guilty was entered by Fugro Engineering Services Ltd, of Wallingford, Oxfordshire at an earlier hearing in respect of breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. A fine of £55,000 was imposed on the company and an order to pay costs of £30,000.