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Council maintenance company prosecuted over safety breach (28 September 2015)

Date: 28/09/2015
Duncan Lewis, Legal News Solicitors, Council maintenance company prosecuted over safety breach

A maintenance company which provides services to council homes in Barnsley has been prosecuted, after a joiner received an electric shock while replacing a wooden garden fence around a domestic property.

The incident happened at a residential council-owned property in Barnsley on 26 November 2013.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the maintenance company Berneslai Homes Ltd had failed to ensure the safety of their employee – and work carried out near an electrical system was not planned in order to minimise the risk of a cable strike.

The injured worker had struck an underground electric cable with a metal spade while excavating a posthole.

He received an electric shock, which did not cause any lasting injury – but the court was told that such incidents pose a risk of fatal injury.

The court was also told that Berneslai Homes Ltd was responsible for managing 18,800 council homes on behalf of Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council.

On Friday 18 September at Barnsley Magistrates’ Court, Berneslai Homes Ltd of Gateway Plaza in Barnsley, pleaded guilty to a breach of Regulation 4(3) of the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989.

Regulation 4(3) of the Electricity at Work Regulations states:

Every work activity, including operation, use and maintenance of a system and work near a system, shall be carried out in such a manner as not to give rise, so far as is reasonably practicable, to danger.

The company was fined £7,500 with £8,562 in costs.

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