Farmer fined after man fatally electrocuted on his land

A farmer in the UK has been fined after a man was fatally electrocuted while working on his land, according to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

The farmer was sentenced to a conditional discharge after a man was electrocuted when the arm of his lorry-mounted crane came in contact with overhead power lines (OHPLs) at Heaton Farm near Rochdale in the north-west of England.

A sitting of Manchester Crown Court heard how – on April 8, 2016 – Matthew Drummond (29), a self-employed tipper wagon driver, had been in the process of unloading sand at the farm when the incident took place.

Following an investigation, the HSE found that the young man had been looking for a site where he could dispose of some waste sand prior to the accident. He made an arrangement at short notice with a farmer, David Heywood, to dump it on his land.

The court reportedly heard how the farmer met Matthew at the entrance to the farm; Heywood then led the lorry driver – in his own vehicle – to the site where the sand was to be tipped.

It was found that the farmer failed to alert Mathew to the fact that OHPLs carrying 6,600 volts ran across the site or notify him of their dangers, according to the HSE.

In order to tip the load onto the field, the lorry driver first had to raise the tipper wagon’s crane. The boom of the crane subsequently came into contact with the OHPLs, electrocuting the young man in the process.

Heywood was given a 12-month conditional discharge and ordered to pay partial costs of £3,000, the HSE added.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE principal inspector Mike Sebastian said: “This tragic incident could easily have been prevented if the farmer had identified and managed the risks involved with OHPLs on his land, and put a safe system of work in place.

“The dangers associated with OHPLs are well known and a wealth of advice and guidance is freely available from HSE and energy suppliers.”