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MILTON KEYNES SCAFFOLDING COLLAPSE

Judge says scaffold collapse was a “disaster waiting to happen”

McAleer & Rushe Limited of, Northern Ireland and Lee Smith Carpentry Limited of Hampshire have been ordered to pay a combined total of almost £200k in fines and prosecution costs following the collapse of a scaffold that lead to the death of one man, John Robinson, and injuries to two others in 2006.

NNM Scaffolding Limited of Leicester and the company director Mr John King were also charged with offences. However, NNM Scaffolding Ltd has since been wound up and a warrant has been isssued for the arrest of Mr King, who is believed to have fled to Spain.

The 40m scaffold collapsed whilst John Robinson, and his son were fixing external tiles. They fell to the ground and were trapped under rubble until rescue workers could reach them. The court heard that a combination of failures led to the scaffolding collapse.

Mark Robinson suffered a punctured lung and broken vertebra but survived and talks about the incident in a video.

The scaffolding was not strong or stable enough for the work being carried out. Inspection of the scaffold was also inadequate, despite specific instructions from HSE and McAleer’s health and safety manager. 

HSE has issued further guidance on scaffold design and inspection since the incident.

John Robinson’s widow, Christine Robinson, said: “John was a kind, caring man who lived for his family. My children and I have not come to terms with his death; we don’t understand why it had to happen.

“This incident should never have happened if both companies had ensured the safety of those working for them. Every day I miss John so much – my best friend, my soul mate and my future.”

HSE Principal Inspector Stephen Hartley said: “ It is totally unacceptable for companies to disregard the safety of their workers. If the scaffolding had been designed, erected and managed properly, this incident would never have happened.” 

An insight into how the HSE investigation was conducted is also available.

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