Horticulture company Plants Galore in Roydon fined after lorry driver suffers life changing injuries

Business / Thu 11th Apr 2024 at 12:03pm

A HORTICULTURE company has been fined £3,000 after a lorry driver suffered third degree burns on his body while making a delivery to a site in Essex.

The man had been delivering a load of hardcore aggregate to Plants Galore Horticulture Limited’s Eagle Nursery in Hamlet Hill, Roydon. His lorry had a tipper and grab arm and after tipping the load, struck 11kV overhead power lines which ran across the yard.

He exited the cab, believing he had struck a telephone cable, and in doing so received an electric shock while holding the handle of the door, when his feet touched the ground. He suffered third degree burns on his body and required multiple skin grafts for injuries to his right forearm, right and left foot, and just above his right knee. He also had exposed tendons in his right forearm and had amputations of the fourth and fifth toes on his left foot.

Accidental contact with live overhead power lines kills people and causes many serious injuries each year. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has guidance about to how to plan and manage work near overhead powerlines.

A HSE investigation found that Plants Galore Horticulture Limited had failed to provide information and instructions on risks, including locations of overhead power lines and what precautions to take. The company failed to erect ground-level barriers to establish a safety zone to keep people and machinery away from the powerlines. An exclusion zone of 3 metres around the 11kV wires should also have been adhered to.

Plants Galore Horticulture Limited pleaded guilty to breaching Section 4(2) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company was fined £3,000 and was ordered to pay £4,000 costs at a hearing at Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court on 28 March 2024.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Connor Stowers said: “Employers should make sure they properly assess and apply effective control measures to minimise the risk from striking overhead powerlines.

“If a suitable safe system of work had been in place prior to this incident, the life changing injuries sustained by the worker could have been prevented.”

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3 Comments for Horticulture company Plants Galore in Roydon fined after lorry driver suffers life changing injuries:

David Forman
2024-04-12 09:44:22

The penalties imposed on Plants Galore are pitiful. The British Safety Council last year exposed cuts to the HSE by the Tory Government: "Since 2010, HSE has cuts to its core funding from £228 million in 2010 down to £126 million in 2019. More recently, it has risen to reach £185 million in 2022, but this is still significantly lower than 2010. This produced staff cuts of 35 per cent across the organisation since 2010 when compared on a like-for-like basis. The number of inspectors fell by 18 per cent over the same period." No wonder rogue employers rarely get inspected. See article at: https://www.britsafe.org/safety-management/2023/a-perfect-storm-why-funding-cuts-are-affecting-hse-s-ability-to-regulate

2024-04-12 10:50:49

The right leaning media like to rubbish Health and Safety. This incident shows how important it actually is .

Guy Flegman
2024-04-12 11:54:26

Official government HSE inspectors have been reduced due to the fact that it is now standard practice for insurance companies to do a health and safety audit which covers more things than a government inspection. To do this they higher Ex HSE inspectors. So there is much more inspection now than ever before. If you do not pass the inspection then you don’t get insurance which means you cannot operate. It also means you have a full and thorough audit every year as opposed to every 5-10 by the government HSE inspection. As a business owner I prefer this new system as I do not need to worry to much about not being on top of the latest regulations as any short comings get picked up on on an annual basis and addressed. Referring to the above incident I would be interested to know if the tipper truck drivers company was fined also.

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