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Food company fined £170,000 after worker electrocuted

12 May 2015

A fresh produce manufacturing company has been fined £170,000 after a worker was killed after coming into contact with a live 240V electrical cable.

Chichester Crown Court was told that Bradley Watts, a 21 year old sub-contractor, was lagging pipes in the loft space of Natures Ways Foods premises in Chichester, on 2 June 2011. He came into contact with a 240V live electrical cable and was electrocuted. He was pronounced dead at the scene by the ambulance crew.

The live cable was part of an old system that had been removed by Natures Way Foods in 2008, but was not identified in any way, and its existence and ‘live’ nature was unknown to Natures Way Foods. An investigation by HSE concluded that Natures Way Foods had plenty of opportunity to deal with redundant cables but it was always assumed they were not live. Had the old cabling been removed in a systematic and controlled manner, or subsequent checks of the loft space identified the examples of poor practice, the death of Bradley Watts could have been avoided.

The company, of Selsey, West Sussex, pleaded guilty to breaching sections 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. It was fined £170,000 and must pay costs of £35,403.