Norfolk steel contractor fined �25,000 after King’s Lynn worker receives 11,000V electric shock

A Norfolk steel erector has been fined �25,000 for breaching health and safety laws, after an accident in which a worker received an 11,000V electric shock.

Self-employed steel erector Mark Rushbrook, 24, was building poultry units at a farm in Swineshead, Beds, when a scissor lift came into contact with an overhead power line.

Mr Rushbrook from West Winch, near King's Lynn, suffered burns to his stomach and hands and muscle damage in the accident, in January 2009.

On Friday two companies, a director and a sub-contractor were fined a total of �110,000 for health and safety failings.

Mr Rushbrook was using a scissor lift to clad the gable end of a steel frame at Sunny Farm, Swineshead, when it came into contact with a power cable and he suffered an 11,000V electric shock.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) charged a number of parties after its subsequent investigation found the gable end of the structure was within just 4.3m of an overhead power line.

On Friday Luton Crown Court heard the defendants failed to identify the potential risks of working near overhead voltage lines and had not put necessary precautions in place.

Most Read

Self employed steel erector and sub-contractor on the project Michael Skayman of Edenside Drive, Attleborough, admitted breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act and was fined �25,000, with �4,750 costs.

Farm owner C and P Bird Brothers Ltd also admitted breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 for which it was fined �20,000 and Regulation 21(1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 for which it was fined �20,000. It was also ordered to pay �5,500 costs.

Peter Bird, a director of C & P Bird Brothers Ltd admitted breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and was fined �5,000 with �2,500 costs.

The company which designed and manufactured the steel frame, Morspan Construction Ltd of Newport, Gwent, also admitted breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act for which it was fined �30,000, and Regulation 19(1)(c) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 for which it was fined �30,000. In addition the company was ordered to pay �5,250 costs.

After the hearing 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.'

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter