Construction Health and Safety Consultancy and CDM Adviser Services

Manager Fined After Two Workers Are Seriously Burnt
Posted by David Cant on January 18, 2012

A Birmingham company and the manager have been prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive. Two of the firms’ employees were seriously burned in a fireball caused by accidently cutting through an electrical cable. The 1000v cable was live when the workers drilled into the floor with an electric drill, both men are lucky to be alive.

David Rawlins and Eamonn Osborne were working for their employer, Clifford Leigh, the manager of RVB Investments UK Ltd.  The two men were sent to an industrial unit in Telford where they were asked to locate the source of a leak underground.  While digging with the drill at the location they were told by Mr Leigh the potentially fatal accident occurred.

Accident Could Have Been Avoided with Proper Planning

During the accident both Mr Rawlins and Mr Osborne were engulfed in massive 4.3 million watt fireball. The heat from the fireball vaporised a metal tool and also caused a fuse to be forced into an electric substation. Both of the men were seriously burnt on their faces, arms and hands and were taken to hospital by helicopter. It was thought that Mr Osborne would not survive the ordeal but thankfully he managed to pull through.

Errors Discovered by Health and Safety Inspectors

The Health and Safety Executive discovered that there had not been a risk assessment carried out before Mr Rawlins and Mr Osborne started looking for the leak.  No one had looked at plans to locate where any cables were located underground and there was not a safe system of work in place.  The inspectors also discovered that safe digging methods were not undertaken. This catalogue of errors was the responsibility of Mr Leigh who should have been focused on making sure the workers were safe.

As Mr Leigh had not taken all the correct precautions to ensure the men were safe the HSE prosecuted him and the company at Telford’s Magistrates Court.  The Birmingham based RVB Investments UK Ltd was fined £10,000 and charged an additional £4,420 in costs after pleading guilty for breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act. Mr Leigh pleaded guilty for breaching Section 7(a) of the same Act. He was fined £2,000 with an additional cost of £1,000.

Be Aware of Your Responsibilities in the Eyes of the Law

Health and Safety Consultants are able to help you learn the laws and your legal responsibilities as a manager or company owner. You need to know how to prepare for any work to be undertaken safely in the workplace. Risk Assessments and policies need to be performed and followed to ensure the lives of others are not being put in danger.

Training is one of the health and safety services which can help managers understand their legal duties and learn how to put training into practice on a daily basis. Taking responsibility for others is part of the job, and failing to do so can lead to men and women being injured or even killed. Call 0800 1488 677 to speak to the health and safety consultants to find out more.


David Cant is a Chartered Safety and Health Practitioner extraordinaire. He has a wealth of Industry experience and is the MD of Veritas Consulting. David also Blogs about Health and Safety here Health and Safety Consultants

His aim is to flavour Health and Safety with integrity, served with a side of humour You can find David on - Twitter and Google also Linkedin

This post has been filed in: Health and Safety Policy, Health and Safety Regulations, Health and Safety Services, Workplace Safety

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