A farm is fined £60,000 following the death of a father-of-three, electrocuted by an overhead power line.
Patrick ‘Paddy’ Rice was fatally electrocuted on 13th May 2021 while operating a tipper lorry at a farm in Crediton, Devon.
Paddy’s mother says since the 43-year-old lost his life, her family are “traumatised and deeply shocked.”
Employed by Langford Plant Hire, Paddy, from Crediton, Devon delivered stone, used to repair farm tracks, the hydraulic arm of the tipper lorry came into contact with an overhead power line.
As a result, he was electrocuted after exiting the lorry.
After an investigation by Health and Safety Executive, the Farm failed in these areas:
1) carrying out an assessment of how the work can be safely completed.
2) Consideration of the the dangers involved with working near an overhead power line.
Overhead power lines typically carry voltages similar to the 11kV in this case, but can go up to 400kV.
There is concern about a nationwide trend of farm machinery getting bigger, therefore increasing risk of contact with power lines.
Paddy’s mother, Fran Rice, said in a statement to the court: “Paddy was an extremely practical person, loads of friends and very popular and liked adventures.
Since the loss of Paddy, we are all traumatised and deeply shocked. It has all been hazy. We find it difficult to talk about what happened.
Gordon, Paddy’s dad, does not talk a lot about it. We’re living in a life that’s carrying on, but we are not fitting in, so we go out and want to enjoy what we do, but it is never quite there.”
Michele Webber, Paddy’s partner, said in her victim personal statement: “I’ve been off work for about five months when the accident happened. My memory’s terrible since it happened and as a result, I’m stuck on the day of the accident. I feel like I have no purpose or joy and no future.”
The Farm is found guilty of breaching Regulations, including Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 following a trial at Exeter Magistrates’ Court.
The company is fined £60,000 and ordered to pay costs of £11,715 on 17 August 2023.
HSE inspector said: “This was a tragic and avoidable incident – another sad reminder of the dangers of overhead powerlines.”
“However, if the Farm acted to manage the risks involved and put in place a safe system of work. Paddy’s death could have easily been prevented.”
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