Take note of the following if you have
overhead power lines crossing your property
Essex firm and individual prosecuted after death of visiting worker
Case highlights risks involved with overhead power lines
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) today warned companies to
be aware of the serious risks involved from contact with or working in close proximity to overhead power lines following the
sentencing today (Tuesday 7 November) at St Albans Crown Court, of Lyons Landfill Ltd and Francis Michael Lyons (trading as
Frank Lyons Plant Services) of Felstead, Essex.
Both the company and Mr Lyons were fined £80,000 each, and each
ordered to pay £35,000 prosecutions costs. HSE's prosecution follows a joint investigation with Hertfordshire Police into
the death of a self-employed lorry driver, 56-year-old Mr Nathaniel Hugh Scollan (also known as Hugh Breffni), who was visiting
a combined quarry and landfill site at Hollingson Meads Quarry, Pole Hole, Gilston, Harlow, on 10 Sept 2003.
Mr Scollan was electrocuted when the grab of the crane mounted
on his lorry came into contact with overhead power lines. The investigation revealed that Mr Scollan parked beneath the overhead
lines when waiting for a load of ballast from the quarry. He apparently raised the lorry-mounted crane and sustained fatal
injuries from the subsequent electric shock. The site was poorly laid out with stockpiles encroaching near the overhead lines,
inadequate signs, poorly designed crossing points and inadequate measures taken to keep plant clear of the lines.
HSE Principal Inspector, Mike Gibb, said:
"This was a tragic death that could have easily been prevented.
Operators of plant may make mistakes and all reasonably practicable steps should be taken to ensure their errors don't result
in loss of life or serious injury.
"I encourage all employers to carefully plan and put into place
sensible precautions to prevent their workers, contractors or visitors to their site coming into contact with overhead power
lines. Good management will reduce the risk of accidents happening.
"It is also important to remember that vehicles or mobile plant
do not need to strike the overhead line for injury to occur. Electricity can arc across a surprising distance depending on
the voltage and conditions."
Help and advice to put in place safe procedures for working near
overhead power lines is available from HSE. HSE's guidance note GS 6 gives detailed advice. Where vehicles must work around
live overhead power lines then barriers can prevent close approach and there should be carefully designed and defined passageways
for plant to pass under the lines where this is essential.
Guidance on electricity in quarries and a leaflet about safe working
near overhead power lines in agriculture is available on the HSE website at http://www.hse.gov.uk. Alternatively, ring HSE's Infoline on 0845 345 0055, fax 02920 859260 or e-mail: email@example.com.
1. On 12 January 2006 Lyons Landfill Ltd and Frank Michael Lyons
were both committed to trial after entering Not Guilty pleas at Hertford Magistrates Court, to charges brought against them
by HSE under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (HSWA).
2. On 13 October 2006
Lyons Landfill Ltd was convicted of an offence under Section 3(1) of the Act and Francis Michael Lyons (trading as Frank Lyons
Staff Services) was convicted of an offence under Section 3(2) of the Act.
3. On 16 October 2006
Francis Michael Lyons was acquitted of an offence under Section 37 of the Act relating to his activities as a director of
Lyons Landfill Ltd.
4. For details on each section of the Health and Safety at Work
etc Act 1974 visit: http://www.hse.gov.uk
5. Detailed guidance is available in HSE Guidance note GS 6 Avoidance
of danger from overhead electric power lines (3rd edition, ISBN 0-7176-1348-8, £5.00).
Health and Safety Executive (East) - 7 November 2006