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£130,000 fines handed down after construction worker suffers burns

Two firms, a director and a sub-contractor have been fined a total of £130,000 after a construction worker suffered serious burns following an electric shock from an overhead power cable.

Self-employed steel erecter Mark Rushbrook was building two new poultry units at Sunny Farm in Swineshead, Bedfordshire, when the incident happened on 25 June 25, 2009.

Mr Rushbrook was using a scissor lift to clad the gable end of a steel frame when it connected with a power cable, causing him to suffer an 11kv electrical shock.

Mr Rushbrook, 24, from West Winch, King’s Lynn, Norfolk, sustained burns to his stomach and hands as well as internal muscle damage.

The Health and Safety Executive prosecuted the firm after stating the defendants failed to identify the risks of working near overhead voltage lines and failed to put necessary precautions in place.

Farm owner C and P Bird Brothers Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and Regulation 21(1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007.

It was fined £20,000 for each breach and ordered to pay £5,500 costs.

Peter Bird, a director of C & P Bird Brothers Ltd admitted breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £5,000 with £2,500 costs.

Gwent-based Morspan Construction Limited, which designed and manufactured the steel frame, admitted breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc and Regulation 19(1)(c) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007.

Morspan was fined £30,000 for each breach and ordered to pay £5,250 costs.

Self employed steel erector and sub-contractor on the project Michael Skayman of Edenside Drive, Attleborough, Norfolk, also admitted breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc and was fined £25,000 plus £4,750 costs.

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