Delivery driver electrocuted, inquest hears

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A DELIVERY driver was electrocuted after his tipper truck struck a 1,100 volt overhead power cable at a farm near Fovant, an inquest heard.

Nigel Fox, 60, died after being electrocuted at Chestnut Tree Farm in Sutton Mandeville on November 2, 2012. Mr Fox was delivering animal feed to the farm on behalf of Northampton-based company Heygates, for which he had worked on a self-employed basis for about six years.

An inquest held at Salisbury Coroners Court on Tuesday heard Mr Fox was an experienced driver, having delivered about 1,700 loads for Heygates. Mr Fox was on his first delivery of the day. He positioned his lorry in front of the barn before connecting the pipes to transfer the feed into the bulk bin. He then stood on the driver’s side of the lorry to operate the tipping mechanism and while the lorry cleared one power cable, it struck a second 1,100 volt cable.

Mr Fox’s body was discovered a short while later by a Southern Electric engineer who had gone out to investigate the power failure. Farm owner Tony Slade said there was plenty of room for father-of-two Mr Fox to reverse back closer to the barn, clear of the power cables.

Heygates said at the time, hazards such as power cables would usually be raised by the customer themselves prior to ordering or by drivers who had previously delivered at the site, and then put on delivery notes.

But the cables at Mr Slade’s farm had not been considered a risk in the past.

Martin Tuckey, distribution transport manager for the firm, said drivers are given up to a week of training when they start at the company, though nothing was formally recorded about Mr Fox’s training.

He said drivers are taught to carry out their own risk assessments when they get to each delivery point. He added that since Mr Fox’s death, the process has been “formalised” and drivers must now complete a five-point pre-delivery assessment. A jury returned a conclusion of misadventure.

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