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Worker electrocuted in Hampstead street

PUBLISHED: 17:41 23 October 2008 | UPDATED: 15:32 07 September 2010

A WORKER literally received the shock of his life when he drilled into an electric cable while doing a job for French power giant EDF Energy in Hampstead. The contractor, who works for lighting specialists David Webster Ltd, was blown into the air and le

A WORKER literally received the shock of his life when he drilled into an electric cable while doing a job for French power giant EDF Energy in Hampstead.

The contractor, who works for lighting specialists David Webster Ltd, was blown into the air and left with burns after the accident outside the Garden Gate pub in South End Green at midday last Friday.

The accident comes at a time when EDF's safety policies are under close scrutiny, following the deaths of four of their employees while at work in the last 18 months.

This most recent incident saw popular Pond Street florist John Atkins rush to the victim's aid after he saw him fly into the air in a cloud of smoke.

"He shot up out of the hole he'd been digging in the ground," he said. "It was hard to see just how high he went because there was so much smoke, but he landed back on his feet in the road. He just looked shocked."

Witnesses report seeing the victim stagger back against the wall of the Garden Gate, with burns on his face and clothes.

Mr Atkins rushed over to the workman and put some water on him to try to cool him down. He then walked him to the nearby Royal Free Hospital as quickly as he could before handing him over to medical staff.

"When I saw it I ran over to him. He was lucky to be alive. He had a friend with him and he looked shocked as well. It's the first time I've ever seen anything like that in all my years selling flowers in Hampstead."

The EDF contractor was transferred to the burns unit at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital before being discharged later that same day.

Almost 60 nearby households were left without power for about an hour following the incident.

An EDF spokeswoman said: "Safety is of paramount importance to EDF Energy and we were concerned and sorry to hear that a third-party contractor was injured.

"We actively encourage any firm undertaking work to contact us in advance for advice and free cable-locating maps. This is vital for their own safety as well as for the security of electricity supplies."

A spokeswoman for David Webster said: "We are taking the matter very seriously, we are reviewing our procedures and investigating the circumstances surrounding this incident.

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