A construction company has been heavily fined after one of their employees suffered personal injury because of their breach of health and safety law.

The unnamed 63 year old was working on the Crossrail construction when the accident at work occurred in 2008. The employee, who worked for Fugroo Engineering Services Ltd, was using a hydraulic breaker to create a borehole outside 1 Hanover Street, London, when his drill hit an extremely high voltage energy cable. The employee suffered a massive electric shock and extremely severe injuries. He suffered internal injuries and 60 per cent burns all over his body.

After the accident a Health and Safety Executive investigation was held. Fugro Engineering Services Ltd was subsequently prosecuted for breach of s.2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. S.2(1) states that: “It shall be the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all his employees.”

The Health and Safety Executive prosecution resulted in the company being found guilty of a breach of statutory duty. Fugro Engineering Services Ltd had failed to put in place a system of work at the time of the incident which would have reasonably ensured that the roles of their employees were clearly defined. This extended to failing to establish proper lines of communication and a failure to train its employees in safe digging techniques. Further, important documents which could have alerted the drill operatives to the presence of the cable were not kept at the appropriate location. This failure of communication and lack of documentation had meant that the areas where the cables were present weren’t marked properly. This led to the unnamed employee sustaining personal injury when he drilled into the cable.

Fugro Engineering Services Ltd was fined £55,000 and ordered to pay £30,000 in costs.

Marc Hadrill, a personal injury specialist at Redmans, stated that: “This case shows the obligations that employers have to put in place systems of work which will ensure that their employees are not at risk of personal injury or death. Further, employers should carry out rigorous management checks and train their employees sufficiently.”


The Direct 2 Lawyers Employment Team post daily on interesting employment law cases, Employment Tribunal judgments and Employment Appeal Tribunal judgments. All of the Employment Team posts are written by qualified specialist employment lawyers

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