A real estate lettings company was sentenced today for safety failings after a self-employed builder suffered first and third-degree burns to his face, hands, neck, and chest.
The injured worker 50-year-old Michael Phillips suffered an electric shock in October 2015 when he was carrying out work for IPH Investments Ltd at an address in Station Parade Harrogate.
The premises were being changed into a sunbed and beauty salon. The most common supply for most domestic dwellings in 240v but because this supply was feeding shop premises and residential flats a larger supply was required (400v). The company needed to carry out some preparatory work before the new supply could be installed. This meant digging out of a small trench in the hallway of the site so that a new electricity supply could be installed into the property. While digging the trench Mr. Phillips struck the existing live service cable with the small breaker he was using.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted the firm over the incident. IPH Investments Ltd of Orchard House Haywra Street Harrogate pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and was fined £53,000 with £654.60 costs by Leeds Magistrates Court.
After the hearing, Jane Towey, HSE inspector, commented that the ‘case was entirely preventable if the company had carried out a suitable and sufficient risk assessment before work began.
‘The company could have used a cable avoidance tool (CAT) before any digging was carried out. This would have helped to locate the buried electrical service.’