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Company fined after wedding reception scaffold collapse

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Scaffold company fined for breaching health and safety laws at the West Woodhay House reception

A COMPANY has been fined after the floor of a marquee collapsed as 150 guests prepared to begin a wedding reception at a West Berkshire venue.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted Surrey-based Block Scaffolding Limited over a scaffold collapse that saw the false floor drop more than four feet at West Woodhay House.

West Berkshire Magistrates' Court heard on Monday (5) that the bridal couple had organised for scaffolding to be erected to counteract the slope of the lawn and keep the marquee floor level.

However, on Saturday, September 25 last year, catering staff were about to serve the first course to guests when the scaffolding beneath the marquee floor collapsed.

Magistrates were told the floor dropped more than four feet in 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.

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.”

Block Scaffolding Limited of Myrtle Drive, Surrey, pleaded guilty to breaching a health and safety at work act and was fined £8,000 and ordered to pay costs of £7,370.

Were you at the wedding or was it your wedding day? Contact Tanya Haji on (01635) 564 541 or email tanya.haji@newburynews.co.uk

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