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North West farmers fined after man electrocuted

13 December 2017

North West farmers have been fined after a man was electrocuted when the arm of a loader crane hit overhead power lines.

Liverpool Crown Court heard today that Edward Evans and his friend had been collecting scrap metal from the farm by prior arrangement when the incident took place.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which occurred on 17 January 2015, found that the scrap metal had been left under live 11kz overhead power lines (OHPLs).

Edward Evans and his friend had driven the loader crane over to where the scrap was, parked up under the OHPLs and exited the vehicle. Whilst operating the crane to pick up and move the scrap metal into the back of the loader crane, the grab touched the OHPLs and got tangled in them. Edward Evans was electrocuted and died. His friend also received an electric shock whilst trying to rescue him.

JH Willis & Sons of Marsh Lane, Cheshire pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3 (1) of the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 and have been fined £85,000 and ordered to pay costs of £11,823.50.

Speaking after the hearing HSE inspector Jane Carroll said:

“This tragic incident could easily have been prevented if the farm partnership had acted to identify and manage the risks involved with overhead power lines on their land, and to put a safe system of work in place.

“The dangers associated with OHPL are well known and a wealth of advice and guidance is freely available from HSE and other energy suppliers. Duty holders must make sure they properly assess and apply effective control measures to minimise the risk from overhead power lines”

Notes to Editors:

  1. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. We seek to prevent work-related death, injury and ill health through regulatory actions that range from influencing behaviours across whole industry sectors through to targeted interventions on individual businesses. These activities are supported by globally recognised scientific expertise.
  1. More about the legislation referred to in this case can be found at:
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