Construction haulier Mick George has been fined more than £565,000 after a tipper vehicle came into contact with overhead power lines (OPLs) during the construction of a waste transfer station.
Northampton Crown Court heard that on 9 March 2016 a driver employed by Mick George was emptying a load of soil from his tipper vehicle at a site in Northampton.
Mick George had already identified the need for permanent protection structures (goalposts), but after an initial delay only one was installed.
To empty the remains of the load, the driver pulled forward with the body raised and the vehicle touched, or came close to touching, the 33kV overhead power lines.
The tipper vehicle suffered minor damage but the driver was unhurt.
An HSE investigation showed that Mick George should have assessed the risks from OPLs more rigorously and realised its system of work was inadequate to reduce the risk of tipper vehicles striking one.
The construction haulier pleaded guilty to a breach of regulation 25(3) of Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015. The company was fined £566,670 and costs of £9,000.
Stuart Parry, an HSE inspector speaking after the sentencing, said: “Every year in the UK, two people are killed and many more injured when mechanical plant and machinery comes into contact or close proximity to OPLs. This was a serious incident and it is fortunate nobody was injured.
“A suitable and sufficient assessment would have identified the need to contact the distribution network operator, Western Power, to request the OPLs were diverted underground before the commencement of construction. If this was not reasonably practicable, Mick George should have erected goalposts either side of the OPLs to warn drivers about them.”
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