Electric Shock Liability

Four parties have been fined a total of £130,000 following an incident in which a worker suffered a serious electric shock at work.

The worker was constructing farm units when a scissor lift he was using came into contact with overhead electric cables, causing burns to his stomach and hands and internal injuries.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigated the matter and found that the unit he was working on had been constructed dangerously close to the power line.

The defendants had failed to assess the risk of working near the power lines and ought to have taken precautions to prevent the worker from being injured.

The land owners pleaded guilty to a breach of Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and Regulation 21(1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007. 

A director of the owners’ comopany also pleaded guilty to a breach of Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

The company responsible for the structure pleaded guilty to a breach of Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc and Regulation 19(1)(c) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007.

The final responsible party was a sub-contractor who pleaded guilty to a breach of Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc.

The case reminds us that the duty to ensure work operations are carried out in a safe way extends beyond the normal employer/employee relationship.

Failing to properly risk assess, supervise and manage activities at work are likely to have consequences for everyone who works at that site, and not just each party’s own employees.

Establishing who is liable for any accident can often be complicated, and it is not always the case that just one party is responsible, as was illustrated in this case.

If you have been injured at work, Gregory Abrams Davidson can provide expert advice. Please contact us on the above telephone number.