Company found Negligent after Worker Sustains Electric Shock

A construction company have been issued a £20,000 by the Swindon Magistrates Court after an employee sustained injuries following an electric shock whilst at work.

The incident occurred in March 2013 when Lee Burge, aged thirty-eight from Bristol, was working at the Trowbridge Rugby Club as a crane operator. At the site, he began to lift a steel object when the hook of the crane collided with an 11kV power line that was overhead.

As Mr Burge was seated in the crane, he suffered a severe electric shock that left him unconscious. He was resuscitated immediately brought to hospital, where he received medical treatment for his injuries. However, Mr Burge still suffers from long-term memory loss as a result of the accident.

An investigation was launched by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into the circumstances of the accident, during which it was uncovered that Ashford Homes (South Western) Ltd, Mr Burge’s employers, were forewarned concerning the presence of the power cables. They had also been advised on how to remove power supplies that ran across the site by an electricity company.

Yet the employers neglected to act upon the advice, and they took no action to try and prevent any equipment from working around the area which contained the power lines. The power supply to the lines was not diverted whilst the employees were working on the site.

The company were prosecuted by the HSE for failure to cohere to Regulation 34(c) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007. The case was heard at the Swindon Magistrates Court, where Ashford Homes Ltd plead guilty to the charges.

The company were consequently fines £20,000 and had to pay an additional £5,159 in costs. When the fine was announced, HSE Inspector Ian Whittles stated that  “Work near overhead power lines should be carefully planned and managed so that risks from contact or close proximity to the lines are adequately controlled. Ashford Homes failed to do this. Luckily Mr Burge was resuscitated, but he now suffers from life changing complications due the electric shock injury at work he received”.


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