Haulage company fined after driver fatally electrocuted

July 10, 2023

An East Lothian based haulage company has been fined £150,000 after a 25-year-old LGV driver was fatally electrocuted.

Andrew Black Ltd pled guilty to failing to ensure there were suitable controls in place for work carried out near dangerous overhead powerlines between 15 November 2021 and 5 January 2022.

The procurator fiscal told the court that the fatal incident happened at the company’s premises at Drem Airfield on 31 December 2021.

Driver Grant Borton was finishing for the day and was using the wash bay to clean his truck in preparation for his next shift. After leaving the wash bay, he raised the tipper which made contact with the overhead powerlines. Mr Borton was electrocuted and died.

The HSE investigation revealed that:

  • A failure to ensure suitable control measures were in place resulted in Mr Grant Borton being electrocuted.
  • The company had not undertaken a risk assessment in respect of the hazard of overhead powerlines on site.
  • There were no suitable means to warn drivers exiting the wash bay of overhead powerlines.

It was also found that there was a faded, illegible sign and a single A4 sized laminated sheet, which did not meet with the regulatory requirements for warning signs, pointed in the opposite direction from the wash bay and would not have been visible to a driver exiting the bay.

One of the HSE specialist reports produced for this incident suggested that to manage the risk the company should have contacted Scottish Power to have the lines buried or put in place signage and road markings to form an exclusion zone.

Since the incident, the company has buried all overhead powerlines on the site.

Debbie Carroll, who leads on health and safety investigations for the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) said: “Grant Borton lost his life in circumstances which could have been avoided had the risks been recognised and simple controls put in place.

“By failing to have suitable controls in place to prevent contact with overhead powerlines Andrew Black Ltd put their employees in danger of electrocution.

“This prosecution should remind employers that failing to take reasonable health and safety measures can have fatal consequences and they will be held accountable for this failure.”

Andrew Black Ltd pled guilty to a charge under Regulation 4(3) of the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 and 33(1)(c) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on 4 July 2023. The company was fined £150,000.

This is valid as of 10th July 2023.

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