Companies fined £1.3m over death of scaffolder John
TWO companies have been fined a total of £1.3million following the death of a scaffolder at the Cemex cement works in Rugby almost four years ago.
Tw e n t y - n i n e - y e a rold John Altoft, from Scunthorpe, was just weeks away from his wedding day when he fell to his death after being struck by falling debris inside an industrial tower at the Lawford Road plant.
The accident took place on January 18, 2012, when a team from Cape Industrial Services was installing an access scaffold to enable the relining of the inside of a steel plated tapered cylindrical structure that forms a part of a preheated tower system.
Warwick Crown Court heard the team was working inside the tower when a fall of heavy concrete debris caused Mr Altoft to fall seven metres to the bottom of the structure, suffering fatal head injuries.
A colleague of his, Ty Smart, was also seriously injured. He suffered serious wrist and arm fractures and has been unable to work since the incident.
The Health and Safety Even‘no‘
w, two years on I still miss John. Mine and John’s life together was taken away from us... we grew up together Executive (HSE) told the court both Cemex UK Operations and Cape Industrial Services Scaffolding should have coordinated and planned the work to protect workers from the risk of falling materials.
Cemex of Egham, Surrey, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3 of the Health and Safety at Work Act and was fined £700,000 and ordered to pay £90,783 in costs.
Cape Industrial Services, of Uxbridge, Middlesex admitted breaching Section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work Act and was fined £600,000 and ordered to pay £90,783 in costs.
Paying tribute to Mr Altoft, his mother Michelle said: “John was very loyal and hard working.
“He turned into the most handsome, caring young man, and I could not be more proud of him.
“He would help anyone and be there when you needed him. I have lost the most precious thing any mother could lose, and will never be replaced – my child.”
Mr Altoft’s fiancée Carly Sargent added: “Even now, two years on I still miss John. Mine and John’s life together was taken away from us. We grew up together.
“He worked hard all his live with the intention of becoming my husband and having a family. This is all he wanted, we both wanted the same things.”
Speaking after the conclusion of the case, HSE inspector Sue Thompson said Mr Altoft’s death was “entirely preventable”.
She said: “If both companies had planned the work and managed the risks to the required standard this incident would not have happened.
“John Altoft should have been celebrating his wedding instead of the tragic circumstance of his family having to prepare for his funeral.
“This was an entirely preventable situation and proper planning and protection from the foreseeable danger of falling material would have prevented this tragedy.”
A four-day inquest into Mr Altoft’s death in May 2013 at Coventry Crown Court returned a verdict of accidental death.
John Altoft died in January 2012, just weeks before he was due to get married