Construction Health and Safety Consultancy and CDM Adviser Services

Fine for Farmer after Incident with Power Lines
Posted by David Cant on May 30, 2012

A Bedfordshire farmer has been prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive for failing to follow legal requirements. The farmer had not completed necessary paper work which is required when carrying out work underneath overhead power lines.

An incident back in 2010 involving an employee and power cables resulted in the investigation by the HSE. The worker was using a lorry to tip compost onto the field. As the employee tipped out some compost on the field the trailer touched the power lines which were live. Thankfully the employee was not hurt in the incident however an investigation was still necessary as it could have resulted in the loss of life.

Fine for Farming Company

During the investigation the HSE found that there wasn’t the necessary documentation in place relating to working below power lines. The documents are there to ensure that the employees and employers are aware of the hazards involving power cables.  The documentation can then be used to work out safe methods of work and to introduce equipment that can help to reduce the known hazards.  This is a requirement in health and safety law and must not be ignored.

The company owned by the farmer, Davison & Co Ltd, admitted breaching the law and was fined £1,500. The specific Regulation was from the Management of Health and Safety Work Regulations.  In addition to the fine the company was also ordered to pay £500 in court costs.

Not Guilty Verdict

Regulation 3(1) states that all employees must make adequate assessments of the risks that workers are exposed to during their duties. It’s also necessary for the risks of people not in their employment that might be affected from the outcome of their conduct must be assessed.  The company was also prosecuted for breaching Regulation 4(3) of the Electricity at Work Regulations, but were found to be not guilty in this instance. Regulation 4(3) says that all activity and working system must be performed in a manner which will not cause danger. This was in relation to the tipper being used near the live power lines.

All Employers Have a Legal Duty

This cause raises the issue that all employers have to complete the necessary documentation in order to reduce the risks in the workplace.  Once the documentation has been produced the findings must be communicated to everyone involved who might be affected by the hazards or the changes in working methods. Control methods can be introduced and the risks are often significantly reduced.

Health and safety consultants are able to help companies in all industries be aware of all the necessary documentation they need to complete. Training can be provided and in many cases the assessments and audits can be carried out by the experts, ensuring the job has been completed successfully and within the law.

Speak to the experts to find out more about health and safety services which might be of great help to you. Give the consultants a call on 0800 1488 677 to find out more.


David Cant is a Chartered Safety and Health Practitioner extraordinaire. He has a wealth of Industry experience and is the MD of Veritas Consulting. David also Blogs about Health and Safety here Health and Safety Consultants

His aim is to flavour Health and Safety with integrity, served with a side of humour You can find David on - Twitter and Google also Linkedin

This post has been filed in: Construction Health and Safety, Health and Safety, Health and Safety Consultancy, Health and Safety Regulations, Health and Safety Services, Workplace Health and Safety, Workplace Safety

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