Saturday, October 17, 2009

Scaffolder suffers massive burns from 66,000 volt power line

A scaffolder suffered burns to 52% of his body and had to have his heart re-started when a pole he was carrying hit a 66,000 volt overhead power line.

Manor Homes (Midlands) Ltd and G. Wright Scaffolding of Redditch were fined a total of ВЈ18,000 by Redditch magistartes yesterday after pleading guilty to safet charges following the accident in November 2007.

The court heard how three workers arrived at the site at Callow Hill Lane, Redditch to dismantle scaffolding. The injured man Ian Maxwell, 39, from Redditch, was removing a 6 metre guard rail, 4 metres above the ground, when it made contact with the 66,000 volt overhead cable.

The worker was removed from the scaffold platform by firemen and flown to hospital where he was treated for serious burns and other injuries.


Scaffolder suffers massive burns from 66,000 volt power line


The electricity cable was charred at the point of contact, while the galvanised steel tube also had drips of zinc along its length where it had melted.

HSE inspector Tariq Khan said: "Mr Maxwell is very lucky to be alive. He was let down by a system of work that failed to take account of the danger posed by the live overhead cables. Work close to overhead cables should be avoided but where this is unavoidable then a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks needs to be carried out and a safe system of work devised with the assistance of the owners of the electricity cables. 

"Electricity can also arc or вЂflashover’ small distances, so direct contact with electricity cables is not always necessary to result in an incident.

"This case should act as a warning to all those who have to work close to live cables such as those in agriculture, construction and quarrying where scaffold poles, vehicles and cranes are operated."

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