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Scaffolder fined after temporary structure collapse at wedding

Block Scaffolding has been fined £8,000 and ordered to pay costs of £7,300 after floor of a marquee collapsed just as 150 guests sat down to enjoy a wedding breakfast.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted Camberley firm Block Scaffolding over a scaffold collapse that saw the false floor drop more than 1.2m at the wedding venue in Newbury. The firm pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

West Berkshire Magistrates’ Court heard the bridal couple had organised for scaffolding to be erected to counteract the slope of the lawn and keep the marquee floor level, at West Woodhay House. 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.

Magistrates were told the floor dropped more than 1.2m places, causing the bridal couple and 150 guests to fall to the ground along with tables, chairs, cutlery and glassware. Scaffold poles also fell into the marquee, narrowly missing guests.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Joanne Woodcock said the prosecution should serve as a warning that the HSE will take action against anyone failing to build safe scaffolding.

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