Steel erector electrocuted building chicken shed

Grant Prior 13 years ago
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Two companies, a director and a subcontractor have been fined a total of £130,000 after a construction worker suffered serious burns following an electric shock from an overhead power cable.

Self-employed steel erector Mark Rushbrook was building two new poultry units at Sunny Farm in Swineshead, Bedfordshire.

He was using a scissor lift to clad the gable end of a steel frame when it came into contact with a power cable and he suffered an 11kv electrical shock.

Rushbrook, 24, from West Winch, King’s Lynn, Norfolk, sustained burns to his stomach and hands, and internal muscle damage in the 25 June 2009 incident.

A Health and Safety Executive investigation found the gable end of the structure was within just 4.3m of an overhead power line.

At Luton Crown Court farm owner C and P Bird Brothers Ltd admitted safety breaches and was fined £40,000 plus £5,500 costs.

Director Peter Bird was fined £5,000 with £2,500 costs.

Steel frame designer and manufacturer Morspan Construction of Newport, Gwent was also the main contractor.

The firm admitted breaching safety regulations and was fined £60,000 with £5,250 costs.

Self employed steel erector and sub-contractor on the project Michael Skayman of Edenside Drive, Attleborough, Norfolk, also admitted breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc and was fined £25,000 plus £4,750 costs.

HSE Inspector John Berezansky said: “As construction work is a high risk activity with significant numbers of major and fatal injuries, good planning, communication and cooperation are needed constantly.

“Unfortunately, all the defendants in this case failed to achieve this.

“That Mr Rushbrook’s injuries were not fatal is only a matter of luck. A lax attitude to health and safety is not acceptable, especially when so many incidents are completely avoidable by taking common sense actions and precautions.

“The safety standards for working near overhead power lines are well-known and readily available.”

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