Labourer struck cables with jackhammer

There was an accident at a regeneration site in a major city when a subcontracted labourer struck an 11,000 Volt underground electric cable with a jackhammer. He was seriously injured. An investigation found that he had not been trained or instructed adequately and so was using an unsafe system of work for digging close to live high voltage cables.


The prosecution under the Health and Safety At Work etc. Act 1974, Section 3, Sub Section 1 resulted in a £40,000 fine.


Those in control of work activities should ensure that employees, contractors, and subcontractors have been given sufficient information, instruction and training to carry out the work activities safely.

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

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Updated 2023-01-09