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Overhead line strike led to multiple amputations

A scaffolding company and its director have been prosecuted after a worker received an electric shock when the scaffold he was erecting clipped overhead power lines. His injuries were so severe, he had to have multiple amputations. 

Overhead line strike led to multiple amputations
The scaffolding erected close to the overhead power lines. Image: HSE

Swindon Magistrates’ Court was told that the structure touched 33 kV overhead power lines on 19 December 2016. The shock he received led to the amputation of his left arm above the elbow, right arm below the elbow and both of his feet. The 32-year-old also suffered severe burns to his legs and back, damage to his vocal chords and was in an induced coma for six weeks.

The Health and Safety Executive investigation found the scaffolding should not have been built so high close to overhead power lines. The company and its director also failed to ensure there was a safe system of work for erecting scaffold under the lines.

Boundary Scaffolding, of Unit 10 Kendrick Industrial Estate, Swindon, pleaded guilty to breaching reg 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act. It was fined £80,000 and ordered to pay £1,415 in costs.

Company director Jonathon Lee Griffiths-Clack, of 12 Grosmont Drive, Swindon, pleaded guilty to breaching reg 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act and s 37 of the Health and Safety at Work Act. He was sentenced to six months in prison, suspended for 12 months, and ordered to repay costs of £1,545.

Nick Warburton is deputy editor of IOSH Magazine 

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