hse_logoUK: A fresh produce 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 refrigeration 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.

Bradey had been working for Mistley Insulation Services which had been subcontracted by Danston Technical Services.

According to the HSE, 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 HSE said in a statement.

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.

Bradley Watts’ death was declared accidental at an inquest in September 2014, the coroner describing the live cable as having been left in a ‘precarious and dangerous’ way.

Natures Ways Foods produce bagged salads and prepared fruit and salad bowls and trays.