Posted by: Alex Wellman06/10/2011
A housing association was this week fined £100,000 for breaching the health and safety at work act.
The landlord, Midland Heart, was taken to court by Birmingham Council after one man died and another was badly scalded as they ran baths in different hostels run by the association.
According to the council, Midland Heart had ‘failed to ensure that the water outlet temperature was properly controlled to avoid scalding’.
Midland Heart has admitted it did not do ‘as much as we could have done to minimise the risk’ and has said it has taken steps to try and stop this happening again.
This awful story – which happened to two vulnerable adult men – once again hammers home the importance of properly maintained premises.
But instead of being concerned with faulty boilers, crumbling walls and other repair issues, this case highlights the importance of landlords to be aware of tenants needs and then work with contractors to find the best solution.
Contractors should not be hired by housing associations, councils or other landlords just because they are the cheapest and just to respond to emergencies.
These businesses have a wealth of experience and expertise in these fields and can add something positive to the experience of tenants in all kinds of tenures and situations. That should be utilised as much as possible.
According to court report in local newspapers, Midland Heart has now placed thermostat mixer valves onto all taps of its properties.
This is a good step, but it is sad that it took the death of one man and an injury to another to put his in place.
From Can we fix it?
Alex Wellman takes a look at what’s going on in the social housing contracting sector