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UK construction company ordered to pay out £210,000 after site blast kills worker

24 September 2012

Birse Metro has been ordered to pay £210,000 in fines and costs after an employee died after hitting an 11,000 volt live cable on a central London site. Ioan Boboc, 22, suffered burns over 60% of his body whilst he and other workers were using breakers and a shovel during excavations at the corner of Charing Cross Road and Tottenham Court Road on December 2, 2008.

The hi-viz vest of one of his colleagues caught fire but he was able to put it out without sustaining any major injury. Mr Boboc was taken to hospital, but died of his injuries a few weeks later.

Southwark Crown Court heard that Birse Metro had not informed workers that there were live cables in the area. The company had asked a sub-contractor to supply labour for the groundworks operation, but agreed that, as main contractor, it would be responsible for planning and supervising the work.

Birse Metro of Redhill, Surrey, pleaded guilty to safety breaches and was fined £167,000 and ordered to pay £43,000 in costs.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Lisa Chappell, said: “The dangers associated with live underground cables are well-known to those carrying out groundworks in the construction industry.

“This incident highlights the absolute necessity for such work to be properly planned and managed. Operatives should be briefed on the presence of cables and a safe system of working should be robustly enforced."

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