Landlord fined after builder dies in work accident

Health and Safety

A landlord has been fined £4,000 after a builder died in a work accident.

Tenants of a property in Hounslow had complained of a wet ceiling in the upstairs bathroom. The landlord, Mr Jagdev Singh Bal, contracted self- employed builder Sarabjit Singh Sanghera to replace the roof.

Mr Sanghera, along with three labourers, carried out the work. However, they did not erect scaffolding around the property; instead they climbed ladders to get to the roof.

The work was nearly complete when Mr Sanghera fell from the roof and was knocked unconscious. He was rushed to hospital but died shortly after he arrived, having sustained serious head and neck injuries.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) launched an investigation and discovered that scaffolding had not been used to access the roof. The three labourers had no experience or training in such work or the health and safety aspects that go with it.

It was not known whether Mr Sanghera had adequate experience or expertise.

Loraine Charles, the HSE’s inspector said: “HSE does not seek to hold Mr Bal responsible for the sad death of Mr Sanghera – the precise circumstances of his death can now never be known. However, it is vital that small residential landlords appreciate that they have legal duties in respect of the health and safety of persons who carry out work on their properties.

“These duties are not onerous. They do not require clients to be experts in construction or health and safety matters, or to undertake direct supervision of their contractors, but only to make appropriate enquiries into the arrangements for carrying out the work safely.

“These enquiries and the actions they prompt may be sufficient to prevent needless death or injury.”

The land lord was fined £4,000 after pleading guilty to breaching Regulation 9(1)(a) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007.