An ESB network technician who came across a 10,000 kilovolt live electric cable when he was repairing a street light has been awarded €83,000 for nervous shock by the High Court.

Ms Justice Bronagh O’Hanlon said Warren Harford did not suffer physical injuries, but there was no doubt that he suffered a nervous shock and found it a horrifying experience. The nervous shock, the judge said, was a very bad one which caused PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) and depression.

She added that it was quite clear the nervous shock was caused by the ESB’s negligent act or omissions towards Mr Harford.

She said he certainly apprehended injury if not death to himself in the incident in which he was exposed directly to the 10,000 kilovolt live cable.

Mr Harford (45) had sued his employer for nervous shock as a result of the incident as he repaired a Dublin street light on December 14, 2014, after he was directed to use a cable identification machine which he claimed wasn’t the usual machine he used.

He claimed he was caused to handle and be exposed to a 10,000 kilovolt electric cable and that he suffered a medically recognised psychiatric injury which is ongoing, although he did not suffer physical injuries in the incident.

The ESB had admitted negligence in December 2018 and accepted the machine provided to Mr Harford was unsafe and unsuitable and he was not trained in its use.

However, the nervous shock claim was, the judge said, strenuously defended.

She said the incident had a detrimental effect on Mr Harford and he now works in a sales area in the ESB. She said there was no reason to doubt his credibility or earnestness.