Fines issued after electrocution leaves worker in coma

A contractor has been fined after a worker received an electric shock on site.

Connop and Son Ltd was carrying out work on a farm in Deddington, Oxfordshire, when the arm of a mobile concrete pump came into contact with an overhead powerline, according to a statement from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

One worker received an 11,000-volt shock, which caused him to lose consciousness. He received CPR at the scene before being transported to hospital, where he lay in a coma for six days.

The worker stayed in hospital for 10 days in total.

An investigation by the HSE found that the firm fell “far below the expected standard” and failed to implement the control measures it had documented in its own risk assessment. That failure meant Connop did not meet the requirements of regulation 14 of the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989.

The HSE also said it found that a sole trader at the site, Alexander Maddan, “failed to plan, manage and monitor the construction phase”, and did not ensure that “reasonably practicable” control measures were in place.

Another worker, Shaun Walker, who was employed as a concrete pump operator, failed to take “reasonable care” for the health and safety of others who were affected by his actions or lack of actions.

Connop and Son Ltd, of Eardisland, Leominster, was fined £50,000 after it pleaded guilty to breaching regulation 14 of the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989. The firm was also ordered to pay costs of £5,425 and a victim surcharge of £181.

Maddan, of Deddington, Banbury, Oxfordshire, pleaded guilty to breaching regulation 13 (1) of Construction Design and Management Regulations 2015. He was fined £3,000 and had to pay costs of £525 and a victim surcharge of £181.

Walker, of Swinford Leys, Wombourne, Wolverhampton, was given a 12-month community order with a requirement to carry out 60 hours of unpaid work, after he pleaded guilty to breaching section 7 of the Health and Safety at Work Act. He was also ordered to pay costs of £2,000 and a victim surcharge of £90.

HSE inspector Steve Hull said the firm and two individuals “could have ensured” that the pump was positioned outside an exclusion zone so that it could not come into contact with the powerline.

“Companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards,” he added.

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