Last reviewed 21 October 2021

A scaffolding company has been fined after a worker was fatally electrocuted whilst operating a lorry-mounted crane.

Martin Tilby was employed by Bridgend-based ASL Access Scaffolding Ltd when he was killed in 2016 as he was moving fencing and the jib of the crane came into contact with overhead power lines.

He was electrocuted and died at the scene.

Managing director Anthony Richards, on behalf of ASL Access, denied being responsible for causing Mr Tilby’s death but the company was found guilty at Cardiff Crown Court of breaching ss.2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and 8(1) of the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment (LOLER) Regulations.

The company was fined £160,000 and ordered to pay costs of £45,000.

Summarising the case, Judge Michael Fitton QC said Mr Richards gave verbal instructions to Mr Tilby and a colleague to move fencing and gates from the company yard in Bridgend to a field in Bonvilston.

When the two men had loaded a lorry and driven to the location, Mr Tilby parked next to more building material, situated underneath three power lines.

During the trial it was argued on behalf of the company that Mr Tilby and his colleague were aware of the dangers and well-acquainted with the field so should have known not to park near power lines.

After the verdict, Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspector Damian Corbett said that the death was easily preventable, and the risk should have been identified.

“Employers should make sure they properly assess and apply effective control measures to minimise the risk from striking overhead powerlines,” he concluded. “This death would have been preventable had an effective system for managing unloading materials been in place.”