A British Telecom (BT) worker, who was badly injured when electrocuted by power lines whilst in the bucket of a ‘cherry-picker’ hoist, is due substantial damages after the High Court ruled that his employer had breached its duty to train him properly.

The man, an experienced cherry-picker operator, was engaged with a colleague in checking a fault on a carrier pole. The hoist had to be moved to enable a horse to get past on the country lane. He came into contact with the power line and his heart stopped, causing damage to his brain. He also suffered serious burns.

BT plc denied liability for the accident, claiming that the man had ignored safety guidelines and was the author of his own misfortune. However, in ruling the company two thirds responsible, the Court found that he had not been adequately trained following a significant change in BT’s safety at work practices that was introduced two years before the accident.

The man was known to be careful in his job and the Court found that he would not have been injured had he been given the appropriate training. Use of the cherry-picker had in any event been unnecessary, as the relevant repair was completed the following day using a ladder. The amount of the man’s compensation has yet to be assessed but is bound to be substantial given the extent of his injuries.

If you have been injured at work because of your employer’s failure to implement safe working practices, you could be entitled to compensation. Contact us to discuss your claim.