Contractor sustains electric shock after failure to isolate power supply

A self-employed contractor sustained 415 volt electric shock injuries from the bare electrical wires supplying an overhead travelling crane whilst working from a 'cherry picker' installing computer cabling. The defendant company failed to follow their procedures for safe isolation of the power supply to the crane.


The company was prosecuted under the Health and Safety At Work etc. Act 1974, Section 3, Sub Section 1 and The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1992 (No 4) paragraph 1 due to the high risk of serious or fatal injuries from the energised electrical wires. This resulted in a £15,000 fine.


  • The company should have undertaken a risk assessment of the cabling activity that should have identified the hazard from the electrical wires.
  • The company should have taken action to warn the contractor of the presence of electrical wires near where the work was being carried out.
  • The company should have taken steps to only allow work when the electrical power had been turned off and to ensure that power remained off for the duration of the work.

The downloadable HSE booklet Electricity at work - safe working practices provides guidance on how the electrical risks of working on or near equipment and machinery can be controlled.

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Updated 2023-01-09