Painters burnt whilst moving tower scaffold

Prosecution followed an accident in which an employee, and an employee of a sister company, were burnt when they came into contact with 33,000 Volt overhead power lines whilst moving a tower scaffold during painting activities. One person had to be revived at the site by others, probably preventing a fatality.


The company was prosecuted under the Health and Safety At Work etc. Act 1974, Section 2, Sub Section 1, the Health and Safety At Work etc. Act 1974, Section 3, Sub Section 1, the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1992 (No 3) paragraph 1, and The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 (No 3) paragraph 1 because:

  1. It had not made a suitable & sufficient risk assessment for such maintenance work,
  2. It failed to prevent persons from working near 33,000 volt power lines,
  3. It failed to provide employees with a safe system of work and the other company's employee was put at risk.
  4. There was a high potential for serious injury.
The company received a fine.


  • The company should have undertaken a suitable and sufficient risk assessment that identified the hazards, the risks arising from those hazards, and the control measures needed to reduce the risks so far as reasonably practicable.
  • The control measures identified in the risk assessment should have been implemented and managed.
  • The employees should have received training that allowed them to identify hazardous situations and take action to prevent injuries from occurring.

The downloadable HSE booklet Electricity at work - safe working practices provides information on how to plan electrical work in a wide range of industries.

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Updated 2023-01-09