A labourer yesterday won $1.15 million in damages nearly eight years after he was badly burned when fire erupted from a hole he was drilling in the road. Cheng Wai-ming, now 34, drilled into a live electricity cable just 150mm beneath the surface of To Kwa Wan Road, To Kwa Wan, on October 29, 1991. The sparks caused a fire that left Mr Cheng with 10 per cent burns. The labourer still complains of blurred vision and suffers a fear of drilling. His employer, Tai Shing Engineering, had argued the accident was unavoidable. In a written judgment, Mr Justice Azizul Suffiad said the company had claimed 'no amount of human ingenuity could reasonably have foreseen that a live electric cable would be only 150mm beneath the road surface'. Mr Cheng's skin started to heal, but a fortnight later he noticed his vision was blurred. He returned to regular work in 1994, but felt mentally unable to operate a pneumatic drill. More than four years later, he was still afraid to resume his old job. Mr Cheng told the Court of First Instance that he 'suffered mental agony' and was scared that, due to his blurred vision, he might fail to see a cable and drill into it again. Mr Justice Suffiad blamed the accident on company negligence, saying it had failed to properly test the area for obstacles before starting work. He ordered the firm to pay Mr Cheng $1,152,365 in damages.