Contractor dies whilst erecting a lighting tower

The employee of a civil engineering contractor was erecting a mobile lighting unit under an 11,000 Volt overhead power line that was 8 metres above ground. The lighting unit made contact with the overhead power line and the employee sustained a fatal electric shock. The live overhead line had not been adequately highlighted to workers.


The company was prosecuted under the Health and Safety At Work etc. Act 1974, Section 3, Sub Section 1 and received a fine.


  1. The company should have assessed the risks from overhead power lines at the site and taken action to ensure these were minimised by taking the following actions:
    1. Identifying the positions of overhead power lines and making all workers aware of their locations.
    2. Selecting work equipment that minimised the risk of contact with overhead power lines.
    3. Training workers on the dangers from overhead power lines and how to stay safe, and keep others safe.

The downloadable guidance Avoidance of danger from overhead electric power lines describes how to work safely near overhead power lines in a range of industries. You can also download a free leaflet called Safe working near overhead power lines in agriculture.

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Updated 2023-01-09