UK Companies Fined $1.9 Million for Industrial Accident

Employee John Altoft, 29, fell 30 feet from a scaffold in January 2012 after being struck by falling debris inside an industrial tower. Another worker was seriously injured.

Two British companies have been fined a total of $1.9 million for the death of John Altoft, 29, an employee who fell 30 feet from a scaffold in January 2012 after being struck by falling debris inside an industrial tower. He was working for Cape Industrial Services Ltd on a team installing an access scaffold for the relining of the inside of a steel plated tapered cylindrical structure at a cement plant; the team was working inside the tower when concrete debris dropped onto Altoft, causing him to fall to the bottom of the tower. Co-worker Ty Smart suffered seriously injuries, wrist and arm fractures that have made him unable to work since the incident.

Inspectors from the Health and Safety Executive testified that both Cemex UK Operations Ltd and Cape Industrial Services Ltd Scaffolding should have co-ordinated and planned the job to a higher standard. Cemex UK Operations Limited pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3 of the Health and Safety at Work Act and was fined approximately $1 million and ordered to pay $135,000 in costs. Cape Industrial Services Limited pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work Act and was fined about $900,000 and also ordered to pay $135,000 in costs.

"John Altoft should have been celebrating his wedding, but instead his family suffered a terrible loss. This was an entirely preventable incident, and proper planning and protection from the foreseeable danger of falling material would have prevented this from happening," said HSE Inspector Sue Thompson.

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