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Man electrocuted as farmer fails to point out safety risks

A North-West farmer has been sentenced to a conditional discharge after a man was electrocuted when the arm of his lorry mounted crane contacted overhead power lines.

Manchester Crown Court heard how Matthew Drummond, 29, a self-employed tipper wagon driver, had been in the process of unloading sand at Heaton Farm near Rochdale, when the incident took place.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that Mr Drummond had been looking for a site where he could dispose of some waste sand. An arrangement was subsequently made at short notice with a farmer, Mr David Heywood, to dump it on his land. The farmer met Mr Drummond at the entrance to the farm who, in his vehicle, led him to the site where the sand was to be tipped. Although overhead power lines (OHPLs) carrying 6,600 volts ran across the site, the farmer did not alert Mr Drummond to their presence or to the risks.

In order to tip the load onto the field Mr Drummond first had to raise the tipper wagon’s crane. The boom of the crane came into contact with the OHPLs, electrocuting him.

David Heywood of Heaton Farm, Heywood Old Road, Middleton pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3 (2) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and has been given a 12 month conditional discharge and ordered to pay partial costs of £3,000.