Farm Electrocution

A farm management company has been fined £120,000 following an accident where an employee was fatally electrocuted at work.

The 21 year old was using a combine harvester which developed a problem causing the discharge spout to remain extended, touching 11,000 volt power lines running over the field. Tragically, as the employee stepped onto the ground he received a fatal shock of 6,300 volts.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) showed that the employers had failed to adequately inspect, monitor, supervise or audit health and safety management at the farm. They also failed to provide adequate health and safety training.

The case highlights once again the importance of proper risk assessments.

In this case the employers had failed to consider the danger presented by the overhead power lines and had failed to train it’s staff on how to work safely in the vicinity of them. The emploer was found not to have even risk assessed the combine harvester being used, which ought to have revealed that the extended discharge spout was higher than the minimum height of overhead power cables, which is 5.2 metres.

The HSE point out that, sadly, 455 people have died in farm incidents since 2001 and one in five work-related deaths is in agriculture, despite the fact that only 1.5 percent of the population work in the industry.

Gregory Abrams Davidson LLP specialise in Employers Liability Law and can advise you if you have been involved in any accident at work.