Social Housing Company Subject to Substantial Fine Following Injury to Employee

Ridwaan Omar
Ridwaan Omar

Published: July 8th, 2024

2 mins read

A social housing company (MHS Homes) who manage more than 9,500 properties across the Kent region, were subject to a substantial fine at a sentencing hearing on the 24 April 2024.

Two employees had been tasked to repair three fence posts in a back garden of a tenanted property in January 2023.  As they were repairing the third post, one of the workers struck an underground electrical cable as he was using a breaker resulting in an employee suffering burns to his face. 

During the HSE investigation it was found that the company had failed to provide the employees with information on the location of or tools to safely excavate the area.  There was also an underground gas pipe in addition to the electrical cable.   It was found that MS Homes often excavated the ground and never provided any information to employees on the location of underground services. The risk of underground services had been identified in a risk assessment in 2017.  It was found that there was a heightened risk of a fire or explosion with the potential to kill employees and members of the public nearly and damage property.

The Company pleaded guilty to a breaching the CDM Regulations 2015 and were subject to a financial fine of £528,000.

Forbes Comment:

All employers who undertake construction type activities have to ensure that there are policies, procedure and suitable and sufficient risk assessments in place for the work activity being undertaken.  The duty is upon the employer to ensure that employees are competent and skilled to undertake the work activity and are provided with their appropriate tools and equipment to allow them to undertake the work safely. Whilst in this instance, the reported injuries were minor, the risk of harm was significant given the potential consequences arising from the work activity.

For housing associations who have their own maintenance department, the message is loud and clear from the prosecution and the onus is on them to ensure that there is a safe system of work in place.

For further information please contact Ridwaan Omar

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