Incomplete Permit to Work Puts Contractor in the Dock
Time and time again, companies find themselves in the dock facing significant fines because their own Health and Safety processes aren't being followed.
Last month, a principal contractor and subcontractor have been fined after an employee’s retina was damaged by an explosion caused by a cable strike during construction works at a substation. Manchester Magistrates Court heard how VolkerInfra Ltd, a high voltage cabling expert contractor, had been subcontracted by principal contractor Siemens Energy Ltd to carry out cabling works as part of a wider construction project at Whitegate Substation in Chadderton, Manchester. On the 17th September 2019, an excavator driver, working on behalf of VolkerInfra Ltd, was excavating phases for laying a 275kV cable and struck an existing live cable close by with the excavator. The contact resulted in multiple explosions which caused blistering to the driver’s retina.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the permit to dig had not been properly completed. One of the advantages of a software based permit to work system is that you can build status checks and alerts into the software which will automatically flag up any completion issues and, if necessary, prevent pass and permit issue until resolved. A flagging feature can also come into play when allocating contracts by ensuring important certifications are in place, such as liability insurance, industry accreditations etc. This is one way a software based contractor management system with permits to work makes it harder to circumvent safe methods of working.