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  • Rudy Witele

Company Hit With Heavy Fine for Neglecting Underground Cable Safety

In every working environment, safety is paramount. Every day, workers face various hazards, some more hidden than others and some more fatal than others. The most suitable way to manage the health and safety risks within a workplace is by conducting a risk assessment. The steps in conducting the risk assessment are very important, and the findings must be implemented to ensure the risks are being controlled and monitored. Failure to follow each step will have a negative consequence for those involved in work activities. A recent incident in Kent is a stark reminder of the dangers associated with not having a suitable and sufficient risk assessment.

Let's delve into the details and explore the crucial lessons we can learn from this unfortunate event, through the many services offered by Base Solutions.

The Incident:

Two operatives of MHS homes a Kent-based housing company were tasked with repairing fence posts in a tenant's backyard. As they were carrying out the work, one of the operatives accidentally struck an underground cable while attempting to break through some concrete. This resulted in one of the employees sustaining severe facial burns and being out of work for lengthy period of time.

Investigation Findings:

Following the incident, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) conducted an investigation. What they uncovered was alarming. Despite frequently excavating the ground, the company failed to provide employees with information about the location of underground services. Furthermore, they neglected to supply suitable equipment for detecting and safely excavating these services.

Even more concerning was the fact that the risk of underground services had been identified in a risk assessment conducted back in 2017. Yet, no action was taken to address this hazard. To compound matters, the employees were not only digging near an electrical cable but also a gas service, significantly increasing the risk of fire, explosion, and potential fatalities.

The Importance of Prevention:

As HSE Inspector Peter Bruce aptly stated, this incident could have had far graver consequences. It underscores the critical importance of identifying underground services before any excavation work takes place. By doing so, we can mitigate risks and prevent potentially life-threatening accidents.

Legal Ramifications:

In the aftermath of the incident, the housing company faced legal consequences for breaching safety regulations. They pleaded guilty to non-compliance and were slapped with a hefty fine £528,000 and must pay £4122 in costs. This serves as a stark reminder of the serious repercussions of neglecting safety in the workplace.

Lessons Learned:

This incident serves as a sobering reminder of the need for rigorous safety protocols within a workplace environment. Employers must prioritise the safety of their workers by providing comprehensive training, equipping them with the necessary tools, and conducting thorough risk assessments.


The story of the Kent-based housing company serves as a cautionary tale for employers ad employees alike. By prioritising safety, adhering to regulations, and taking proactive measures to identify and mitigate hazards, we can ensure that every worker returns home safely at the end of the day. Let this incident serve as a catalyst for change, driving us towards a safer, more secure future in construction.

Here at Base Solutions we offer approved online course in electrical safety to allow clients to understand how to conduct electrical safety checks, and give an overview of the main standards, guidance and legislation that governs the use of electricity in the workplace. With our dedicated support team on hand 24/7, click the 'contact us' below to get more information relating to electrical safety.


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