Employers beware of overhead cables

By Maria Hadlow23 September 2009

UK Law firm Mace & Jones is warning employers of the dangers of overhead power cables.

The warning comes after a man suffered serious burns when he was hit by an electrical charge whilst using a control lever to move the extending arm of his truck to tip waste. The extending arm touched a set of 33000 V overhead electric cables, causing electricity to surge through the metal structure of the vehicle throwing the driver to the ground and leaving him with burns to his arm and feet.

Jeremy Bradshaw, head of personal injury at Mace & Jones, said, "Around 60% of electrical fatalities at work are caused by inadvertent contact with overhead power lines with workers in the agricultural and construction sectors most at risk.

"However, such accidents are so easily prevented. A straightforward risk assessment would easily highlight the potential risk to employees from overhead power lines. The employers could quickly put into place simple and inexpensive measures that would reduce that risk, such as barriers and warning signs.

"Section 14 of the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 provides that no person shall be engaged in any work activity on or so near any live cables that they present a danger unless it is reasonable for him to work close to them and measures have been put into place to protect that employee from the risk of electrocution.

"Why face the possibility of a heavy fine on prosecution and/or having to pay out compensation to an employee when measures to eliminate this type of risk of injury are so inexpensive and easy to implement."

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