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Developer prosecuted after lorry hit power lines

July 3 2013

A housing developer has been fined after a tipper lorry hit overhead power lines, cutting the electricity supply to local homes.

The lorry, belonging to Hazelton Homes (Midlands) Ltd, was delivering stone at Old Hall Close, Cottesmore, when the incident happened.

The strike caused a power cut to 11 homes which were without electricity for three hours.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted the company at Leicester Magistrates’ Court.

Magistrates were told that Hazelton Homes (Midlands) Ltd of Rushton, Kettering, failed to make sure that suitable warning signs for vehicles and suspended protections were provided.

However the court also heard that two and a half weeks before the incident, the company’s quantity surveyor warned about the dangers of overhead power lines and the need for barriers and warning signs.

Hazelton Homes (Midlands) Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching regulation 34(2) (c) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 and was fined £8,000 with costs of £4,214.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Linda-Jane Rigby said: “This incident was entirely preventable and arose from a clear failure to assess and manage the risks associated with the presence of overhead power lines.

“The need for goalposts and warning signs had been drawn to the attention of Hazleton Homes (Midlands) Ltd shortly before this incident but the directors failed to put the necessary measures in place. Once remedial steps were taken, the company failed to ensure they remained in place.

“A number of people die every year when they accidentally make contact with electrical cables. It was only a matter of luck that no-one was seriously injured or killed in this incident.”