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DRIVER ESCAPES WITH LIFE AFTER POWER STRIKE

Director given suspended sentence over lorry 132kV line contact

A Director of a London-based waste contractor has been fined and handed a suspended sentence after a lorry contacted 132kV overhead power lines in North London on 10th June 2013.

Southwark Crown Court heard how the company was contracted to construct a ‘bund’ (earth hill) directly beneath overhead power lines.

During the work a tipping lorry on the came into contact with the overhead power lines causing arcing which damaged both the wires and the lorry. The lorry driver escaped without injury although contact with power lines can result in death.

Defendant warned of the danger

HSE investigators found no controls in place to prevent vehicles coming into contact with overhead power lines.

The court heard that the company had received advice from UK Power Networks about working near overhead power lines on a number of occasions both before and after the incident.

The company had “continually failed to implement controls” and reduce the bund level to achieve minimum statutory clearances.

  • Donal Hanly – pleaded guilty to breaching Section 37 of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and was fined £8,000 and ordered to pay costs of £7,068.34.

The judge also imposed a six month prison sentence suspended for 12 months and a Director Disqualification order for a period of seven years.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Gabriella Dimitrov said:

“This was a very serious incident and it is fortunate nobody was injured.  The incident could easily have been avoided by introducing control measures and safe working practices.

Companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.”

 

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