Worker suffers serious injuries whilst using a pneumatic breaker

A 17 year old employee suffered serious injuries after striking a live electrical cable during digging work using a pneumatic breaker. The investigation revealed an unsafe system of work was being used and that the employee had not been adequately trained and supervised.


The employer of the injured person was prosecuted under the Health and Safety At Work etc. Act 1974, Section 2, Sub Section 1, and The Construction (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulation 1996 (No 4) paragraph 1, and fined £10,000.


It is essential that employees be given adequate training and supervision until they achieve competence in the work activity being undertaken. Powered tools should not be used in close proximity to underground services.

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