November 23, 2018

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In court

Driver fell to his death on poorly fenced off construction site

A construction company has been fined after a chauffeur fell to his death at a concealed basement void in a domestic property that was undergoing building work.

Mr Bala Singh Koranga, a visitor to the house and not associated with the works, entered the construction area and stepped onto a blue tarpaulin that was placed to prevent rainwater entering the basement. Mr Koranga fell into the void and sustained a fatal laceration to the neck. The incident happened on 16 September 2017.

The HSE’s investigation found the company had failed to put in place adequate construction site fencing, the site had no warning signs and ineffective barriers were used around the concealed void.

SM Builder Expert Limited of Alnwick Road, London pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 13(1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 and was fined £5,280 with costs of £3,204.

Speaking after the hearing, Mr Koranga’s son said: “My father was always very happy. He was always messing around and joking. It was what he was known for. He is greatly missed.”

HSE Inspector Rauf Ahmed added: “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.”

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Andy Anderson
Andy Anderson

I support the prosecution of this awful event but need an explanation as to such a low fine, even if it is a small building company, the Sentencing Guidelines were produced to change this position to ensure that fines were much more proportionate to the outcome, in this case a loss of life. Is it a case of prosecution using a Regulation, rather than through S3 of HASWA?