When records management is a matter of life or death

What happens when records go missing, and how we can make sure that never happens to you.
When records go missing

In June 2017 the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) requested information from gas distribution network companies about their management of gas networks in high rise multiple occupancy buildings (HRMOBs).

At this moment, HSE discovered that, when one of these networks had sold a portion of its operations to another, the records of some 769 high rise buildings were not transferred. Because these records weren’t exchanged, the buildings concerned simply ‘fell off the radar’. They were not inspected, surveyed, or routinely maintained in years – not, in fact, till the HSE discovered the omissions in 2017.  

What happened?

In this particular case, the HSE decided that residents and members of the public had been exposed to risk to as a result of the incomplete records, as they had led ultimately to the absence of routine inspections of these buildings.

The network company received a multi-million pound fine in February 2021 for its oversight.

Why the large penalty?

While it can be argued that no one was actually harmed by the missing records, Liverpool Crown Court ruled that the network provider was guilty of breaching its health and safety duties to ‘persons other than their employees’ (under Section 3(1) HSWA 1974).

Hence the hefty fine. Worth remembering also; if a breach of this duty is proved, there is no statutory limit on the fine that may be imposed. The sky’s the limit.

Lessons learned

Records are not just an admin job to be put off till a slow Friday. In reality, records can and do save lives. They also safeguard businesses from court cases and crippling fines. It goes without saying then, that they should become top priority.

How we can help

We’ve put vital records management at the heart of our safe work system Mineral Blue. Our FactSafe module enables workers in the field to record every single event on a site using their mobile device.  We also collect proof of compliance events such as inspections and isolations. All of these site data records are written to a blockchain, creating an immutable ledger for security and compliance.

We have the technology to collect data and create records in live environments at the touch of a button. There is no excuse for not having information available where and when it is needed. Anything less is quite simply unacceptable, and puts your business, your people, and the public, at immediate risk.