Power lines strike sparks HSE investigation

Chris Tindall
February 20, 2020

A family-run stone and aggregates business has been fined £50,000 after one of its tipper wagons made contact with an uninsulated overhead power line.

Fairhurst Stone Merchants pleaded guilty to breaching the Electricity at Work Regs, as well as the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regs following a Health and Safety (HSE) investigation.

Leeds Magistrates’ Court heard that on 25 July 2018, a wagon belonging to the North Yorkshire business was delivering materials to its readymix plant in Settle and was directed to tip its load close to the overhead power lines.

During the tipping procedure the vehicle moved forward and made contact with the power lines which were live at 11,000 volts.

Nobody was injured in the incident.

The HSE found that two years previously, a Fairhurst wagon had made contact with the same power lines. No one was injured but the electricity supplier gave advice regarding avoiding a repeat incident. The only action taken by the company was to put up two small warning notices that the driver failed to see. In addition, the first incident was not reported to HSE as required by the RIDDOR regulations.

As well as the fine, Fairhurst was ordered to pay costs of £621.42.

HSE inspector Julian Franklin said: “Had the company reported the first incident to HSE and acted on the guidance from the electricity supplier, effective precautions could have been taken to avoid a repeat incident.

“This incident could have led to the death of the wagon driver.”

About the Author


Chris Tindall

Chris Tindall started writing for the haulage and logistics industry in 2002 and has covered a broad range of significant issues, including GPS jamming by criminals, platooning and Brexit.

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