£1 fine over scaffolding fall death 'an insult'

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A woman whose husband died after falling from faulty scaffolding in Lancashire has said a judge fining a building firm £1 was "an insult".

Peter Walton, 55, fell five metres while working at Altham Industrial Estate, near Accrington, in 2006.

Howorth Scaffolding was fined £25,000, but developer Glenmill Group was fined £1. The judge said the amounts reflected their financial positions.

"My husband lost his life, not his livelihood," Christine Walton said.

"It is an insult. This doesn't reflect the seriousness of what happened.

"I lost my partner, my soul mate."

'Importance of regulations'

She said the court should have made an example of the two companies involved.

Mr Walton, a joiner from Anchorsholme near Blackpool, had been working on a project to build three new office blocks when an unsecured board of the scaffolding gave way, Burnley Crown Court was told.

Image caption,
Christine Walton said her husband Peter was her soul mate

He was taken to hospital by air ambulance but died surrounded by his family five weeks later.

Howorth Scaffolding Services, of Hapton, and Glenmill Group (Developments), of Nelson, both pleaded guilty in September to breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 by putting workers at risk.

The judge gave his sentence in writing on Friday.

Both firms also had to pay £13,793 towards costs.

The Health and Safety Executive, which brought the case, said it showed how important it was for firms to follow health and safety regulations.

"It's vital that construction companies do more to prevent deaths and injuries in the future," Inspector Ian Connor said.

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