Worker killed as platform hits overhead power line

Grant Prior 3 years ago
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A Scottish power company has been fined £133,000 after the fatal electrocution of a worker on the power line between Dounreay and Beauly.

Scottish Hydro Electric Transmission PLC pleaded guilty to safety breaches following the incident which at Contullich Woods near Alness.

The company were told they would have faced a fine of £200,000 were it not for their plea of guilty.


Tain Sheriff Court heard that on 2 August 2012 Gareth Aitken was supervising two junior colleagues, using a suspended work platform to replace the cables between the pylons on the line.

While moving the platform to a lower position on the pylon Aitken came into contact with a charged electric cable.

A joint investigation by the HSE and Police resulted in detailed prosecution reports being submitted to the Crown.

It was found that the charge that killed Aitken was caused by induction from the adjacent live circuit.

The investigation concluded that the Permit to Work issued by the Company in relation to the work to be carried out was inadequate and that the risk of death or very serious injury was readily foreseeable.

Gary Aitken, Head of Health and Safety Division said: “The failing on the part of Scottish Hydro Electric Transmission PLC to have in place an adequately specified Permit to Work did not provided for a safe system of work. This ultimately led to the tragic death of Gareth Aitken.

“The risk of death from this type of work was foreseeable and entirely avoidable.

“Since this incident the company has carried out additional training in the Permit to Work process to ensure compliance with expected standards.

“Companies can fully expect to be prosecuted for their failure to fulfil their health and safety obligations.”

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