BAM Construction and groundworks firm prosecuted over worker’s electrical burns

Thomas Tevlin
05 Apr 2017

Two construction companies have been fined a total of £280,000 a worker suffered ‘life-changing’ injuries when a lamppost he was helping to install came into contact with an 11kv overhead powerline. 

Winchester Crown Court heard Network Rail had appointed BAM Construction Limited to build a new railway operating centre in Basingstoke in Hampshire. In turn BAM appointed Southampton-based civil engineering firm Shoreland Projects Limited to undertake groundworks for the project.

On the day of the incident in January 2015 an excavator was being used to install lampposts on the site entrance road. However, as the fifth lamppost was being lifted into position, it touched the 11kV overhead powerline.

Mark Bradley, described by local newspapers as a father-of-one from Gosport in Hampshire, suffered “multiple life changing injuries” including severe burns to his neck. 
A colleague rushed to his aid, using a piece of timber to push him away from the lamp column.

HSE’s investigation found there was a failure to properly identify the presence of the overhead power lines and to appropriately plan the work. There were no suitable control measures in place to prevent contact with the overhead powerlines and a number of workers, including Mr Bradley, were put at risk.

BAM Construction Ltd, of Hemel Hempstead, pleaded guilty to breaching regulation 14 of the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989. At a sentencing hearing on 4 April 2017, it was fined £260,000 and ordered to pay costs of £9,415.13.

Shoreland Projects Ltd also pleaded guilty to breaching regulation 14 of the Electricity at Work Regulations and was fined £22,000 with costs of £8,442.53.

Speaking after the case HSE inspector William Christie said: “While this entirely preventable incident has had a permanent and very substantial effect on Mark’s life, his very serious injuries could have been even worse had it not been for the quick thinking of his colleague.

“This case highlights the importance for all work to be planned properly by all dutyholders. Overhead power lines pose a significant threat to the safety of workers. Construction work in the vicinity of live conductors must be properly planned, managed and monitored to ensure the risks 
are controlled.”