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Gas pipes and electrical cables struck by mechanical digger

During excavation work using a mechanical digger, 5 gas pipes and 1 electricity cable were struck, yet work continued. There was no safe system of work while excavating. Also a blatant continuation of work using mechanical digger without repairing pipes already struck. This could have seriously endangered lives.

Action

The contractor was prosecuted under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, Section 2, and fined.

Comment

If work activities do not go as planned, STOP and find the safest way to proceed. The plan of work should identify what can go wrong and show how to reduce the risks.

The downloadable HSE booklet Avoiding danger from underground services gives guidance on how to work near underground services.

Updated 2012-12-06