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Workers 'were warned about electric cable under traffic cone'

Workers 'were warned about electric cable under traffic cone'

Friday 14 October 2022

Workers 'were warned about electric cable under traffic cone'

Friday 14 October 2022


A pair of contractors who suffered electric shocks after finding a cable under a traffic cone were warned in advance of a risk of finding a cable, the Royal Court has been told.

The incident at a property being connected to the mains in St. Helier last February led to construction firm Rok Homes being charged with breaching the Jersey Health and Safety at Work law, and it is currently on trial.

The company denies failing to comply with legislation requiring it to identify electricity services during building work, to assess risks and to disconnect or isolate the supply of electricity.

The trial began on Wednesday, with Crown Advocate Simon Thomas explained that the cable was found at a site at West Hill in late November 2020, and later emerged in early December as plumbers laid a water main in the trench, at which point site manager Joseph Quinn placed a traffic cone over it and directed a colleague to backfill the trench.

The area was marked with green and blue tape to denote telecoms and water services, rather than yellow, signalling an electric cable. Mr Quinn said in a statement that he had been "90% confident" the cable was dead.

Speaking of the resulting shocks to the workers that found the cable, Advocate Thomas said it was a "matter of good fortune that the harm was not more serious".

On the second day of the trial, Rok Homes' site manager Duarte Antunes claimed he had been told about the cable when he took over responsibility for the site.

When two employees from contractor Geomarine attended the site on 8 February 2021, he had indicated the presence of a buried cable in the area they were due to work, telling them that it was under a traffic cone and denoted by blue markings on the soil above.

The contractors were left to start their work, Mr Antunes said. On his return, he said he was told by one of the men that he believed he had suffered a shock, but wasn't injured.

Geomarine engineer Joseph Le Claire told the court he had prepared a work instruction and risk assessment prior to his colleagues going on site, and that all the company's operatives received training about safety at work.

"Whenever employees start to work on projects with Jersey Electricity, they always go in a team with long-serving colleagues, so that they can watch and learn," Mr Le Claire explained.

The trial - Commissioner Sir Michael Birt, sitting with Jurats Pamela Pitman and Gareth Hughes - continued today.

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

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