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SCAFFOLDING CONTRACTOR PROSECUTED AFTER COLLAPSE

False floor dropped 4m under 150 guests at marquee wedding breakfast

Block Scaffolding Limited of Surrey has been fined after the floor of a marquee collapsed as 150 guests sat down to enjoy a wedding breakfast. The scaffold collapse resulted in the floor dropping more than four feet at the wedding venue in Newbury. Scaffolding was erected to counteract the slope of the lawn and keep the marquee floor level.

On Saturday 25 September 2010, catering staff were about to serve the first course of the wedding breakfast to guests when the scaffolding beneath the marquee floor collapsed causing the bride, groom and guests to fall to the ground along with tables, chairs, cutlery and glassware. Scaffold poles also fell into the marquee, narrowly missing guests.

Contractor overlooked “basic health and safety” 

Block Scaffolding Limited of Myrtle Drive, Blackwater, Camberley, Surrey, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. It was fined £8,000 and ordered to pay costs of £7,370.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Joanne Woodcock said:

“The scene after the incident was shocking, with broken glass and crockery everywhere. The collapse must have been terrifying for the bride, groom and their guests.

A couple’s wedding day was ruined and guests unwittingly risked being seriously injured, simply because Block Scaffolding Limited overlooked basic health and safety.

The fact no one was seriously injured is solely down to good fortune. This prosecution should serve as a warning that HSE will take action against anyone failing to build safe scaffolding.”

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