Real estate company fined following electric shock
A lettings firm based in Harrogate, North Yorkshire has been fined following an incident that took place in October 2015.
A self-employed worker had been hired by IPH Investments Ltd to carry out some work at an address in Harrogate. The builder, Michael Phillips, was severely injured when electricity passed through his body, causing him to suffer first and third degree burns to his chest, neck, hands and face.
The premises where Phillips was working were undergoing a conversion into a tanning and beauty salon. Domestic dwellings generally have 240v supply of electricity, but the converted building required a 400v supply as it was powering the residential flats and the salon. Prior to the new electricity supply being installed, a trench had to be dug in the hallway in preparation for the new cable. However, during the work, Phillips struck a live cable that was serving the property.
The company was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) following the incident. IPH Investments Ltd pleaded guilty to a breach of the health and safety regulations, and was fined £53,000 and ordered to pay costs of £654. Jayne Towey, inspector with HSE, stated that the company could have prevented the incident from occurring if they had conducted a risk assessment prior to work being carried out. A Cable Avoidance Tool could have been used to locate the buried electrical cable before digging commenced.
Companies have a duty of care to all workers, and very often this requires the use of PPE or specialist workwear, which will prevent illness or injury.