The incident occurred on December 31, 2021, at Andrew Black’s premises located in Drem Airfield, East Lothian.
The driver, Grant Borton, had finished his work for the day and was using the wash bay to clean his truck in preparation for his next shift. Upon exiting the wash bay, he raised the tipper, which unfortunately came into contact with the overhead powerlines, resulting in Borton’s electrocution and subsequent death.
An investigation conducted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) revealed that the haulage company had failed to implement suitable control measures to prevent such incidents. Specifically, the company had not conducted a risk assessment regarding the hazards posed by the overhead powerlines at the site. There were also inadequate warning measures in place to alert drivers exiting the wash bay of the presence of overhead powerlines. The existing sign was faded and illegible, and a single A4-sized laminated sheet, which did not meet regulatory requirements, pointed in the wrong direction and would not have been visible to drivers leaving the bay.
One of the specialist reports commissioned by the HSE recommended that the company take measures such as contacting ScottishPower to bury the powerlines or installing proper signage and road markings to establish an exclusion zone and manage the risk effectively.
Following the incident, the haulage firm has taken action to bury all overhead powerlines on their premises.
Andrew Black, the owner of the company, pleaded guilty to the charge of failing to ensure suitable controls were in place for work near dangerous overhead powerlines between November 15, 2021, and January 5, 2022.
Debbie Carroll, who oversees health and safety investigations for the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS), expressed that Grant Borton’s death could have been prevented if the risks had been identified and appropriate controls implemented. The prosecution serves as a reminder to employers that neglecting reasonable health and safety measures can have fatal consequences, and they will be held accountable for such failures.