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POWER GIANT FINED OVER OVERHEAD LINE FATALITY

Electrical linesman electrocuted during removal of transformer by crane 

UK Power Networks (formerly known as EDF Energy Networks Limited), a power company supplying the East of England, London and the South East has been fined £300,000 after an employee died on a Norfolk site. Jonathan Crosby, aged 45, was working as an electrical overhead linesman in Sawmills Road, Diss when the incident happened on 9 November 2007.

Mr Crosby was in a cherry-picker 5m above ground, removing an electrical transformer from the top of a pole connected to overhead power lines. As the transformer was being removed it made contact with live power resulting in a fatal electrical shock.

Norwich Crown Court heard that the defendant failed to:

  • devise and prescribe rigorous and up to date procedures for this work;
  • train staff adequately; and
  • take steps to check these procedures were effective and that they were being followed.

HSE investigators found that fuses supplying the transformer had not been removed to cut the electricity supply while it was lifted by a crane and also being held by Mr Crosby.

Company “significantly short of the reasonable practicability standards”

UK Power Networks of Newington House, 237 Southwark Bridge Road, London admitted breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. In addition to the £300k fine the firm was ordered to pay prosecution costs of £219,352.09.

Judge Peter Jacobs said:

“They fell significantly short of the reasonable practicability standards and theyu must take responsibility for their organisational and operational failures. It is obvious that the work being done is very dangerous and the merest contact could result in electrocution or a fall from height.”

HSE Inspector Toni Drury said after the case:

“A family man has lost his life in tragic circumstances which could have been avoided if essential safety measures had been put in place by UK Power Networks. This tragedy illustrates how dangerous work on or near overhead power lines is and it is imperative that employers ensure there are safe systems of work and that these are implemented and followed.

There is no room for error when working with such high voltages. It is not only the person involved in such an awful incident that is affected but family and friends are often left behind to deal with the devastation.”

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