A construction company was fined £5,280 by Luton Magistrates’ Court on 19 November and ordered to pay costs of £3,204 for failing to adequately protect the entrance to a cellar that had been covered with a tarpaulin to keep rainwater out.
A chauffeur fell to his death when he stood on the tarpaulin on the floor which covered a basement void in a domestic property undergoing construction work.
The incident happened in a property in which SM Builder Expert Ltd of Alnwick Road, London, was working. Luton Magistrates heard how, on Saturday 16 September 2017, Mr Bala Singh Koranga, a visitor to the house and not associated with the works, entered the construction area and stepped on to the blue tarpaulin that had been placed over the void to prevent rainwater entering the basement. Mr Koranga fell into the void and sustained a fatal laceration to the neck.
An investigation by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) found the company had failed to put in place adequate construction site fencing, the site had no warning signs and there were ineffective barriers around the concealed void.
SM Builder Expert Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 13(1) of the Construction (Design & Management) Regulations 2015.
HSE inspector Rauf Ahmed said after the hearing: “This tragic incident could easily have been prevented. Builders need to take adequate measures to prevent unauthorised access into construction sites and prevent persons falling into open basements.”
Advice and guidance on making building sites safe for the public is available at: http://www.hse.gov.uk/construction/safetytopics/publicprotection.htm