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Sun October 25 2020

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Repeated power line contact at Settle ready-mix plant

29 Jan A builders’ merchant has been fined £50,000 for safety breaches that resulted in a delivery driver hitting an uninsulated overhead electric power line.

Leeds Magistrates’ Court heard that on 25th July 2018, a wagon delivering materials to a ready-mix plant in Settle was directed to tip its load close to overhead power lines.

During the tipping procedure the vehicle moved forward and made contact with the power lines which were live at 11,000v, nobody was injured in the incident.

The ready-mix plant was owned and operated by Fairhurst Stone Merchants Ltd.

An investigation by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) found that another wagon had made contact with the same power lines just two years previously. No one was injured but the electricity supplier gave advice regarding avoiding a repeat incident. The only action taken by Fairhurst 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.

Fairhurst Stone Merchants Ltd of Langcliffe Mill, Stainforth Road, Langcliffe, Settle pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 3 of the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 and Regulation 7 of the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013. It was fined £50,000 and ordered to pay £621.42 in costs.

HSE inspector Julian Franklin said after the hearing: “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. Standard industry-wide precautions should be followed to avoid the risk of contacting high-voltage overhead lines.”

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