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Construction firm leader points finger at JEC in electric shock case

Construction firm leader points finger at JEC in electric shock case

Saturday 15 October 2022

Construction firm leader points finger at JEC in electric shock case

Saturday 15 October 2022

An alleged lack of accurate plans from Jersey Electricity means that there is an “accident waiting to happen on every single site" attended by Ron Homes, the construction firm's Project Director has told the Royal Court.

Rok was this week on trial after two contractors suffered shocks from a cable under a traffic cone while connecting a St. Helier property to the mains in February 2021. It denies breaching section 21 of the Jersey Health and Safety at Work law.

The cable was first uncovered on the site at West Hill in November 2020, and later emerged as plumbers laid a water main in early December, at which point the trench was back-filled and a cone placed on top. JEC were not informed right away.

On Friday, Rok Project Director Mark Godel accused Jersey Electricity of making a "big contribution" to the risk.

"There's very little diligence, very little care," he said in a statement based on interviews with health and safety officers which was presented to the court.

"...This is an accident waiting to happen on every single site we go into."

He argued that poor record-keeping on the part of JEC played a part in the shock incident. He also claimed that the utility company's subsequent report was "inaccurate and full of errors."

Mr Godel also said that Jersey Electricity had been verbally informed about the cable three times across December and January – a fact disputed by JEC.
He later admitted that, "in retrospect", it would have been better to back up the reports with emails, noting: "It's a matter of updating our procedures to suit their poor communications, not because our procedures were falling short."

Turning to why JEC weren't informed of the site having to be made safe in December 2020, Mr Godel said: "There was no flash, no bang, nobody lost power, we did not strike a cable, so it wasn't deemed an emergency."

Commissioner Sir Michael Birt was sitting with Jurats Pamela Pitman and Gareth Hughes for the trial, which started on Tuesday.

The case did not conclude as expected yesterday. Following an adjournment, closing arguments and a verdict are now due to be delivered on Thursday 27 October.


Trial over electric cable found under traffic cone that gave workers shocks

Workers 'were warned about electric cable under traffic cone'

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