Family of Cricklewood father who fell from scaffolding issue health and safety plea as Wembley company fined

PUBLISHED: 09:15 21 October 2020 | UPDATED: 11:53 22 October 2020

David Smith with his son Charlie and daughter Tia

David Smith with his son Charlie and daughter Tia


A Wembley company has been fined thousands of pounds after a Cricklewood father-of-two plunged to his death from a defective scaffolding rig.

David Smith died when a scaffolding rig collapsed under him in CricklewoodDavid Smith died when a scaffolding rig collapsed under him in Cricklewood

David Smith suffered a catalogue of injuries, including brain and internal injuries, when he fell five metres from the structure in Cricklewood Broadway on February 16, 2017.

Wembley Scaffolding Services admitted three health and safety breaches at a hearing at Southwark Crown Court on September 11 and was fined £7,860 with £8,940 costs.

Sean Chapple of Northwood, a director at the firm, pleaded guilty to five offences.

He received a 12-week prison sentence suspended for one year, was fined £1,000 and was ordered to pay costs of £11,000.

David Smith with his daughter Tia and son CharlieDavid Smith with his daughter Tia and son Charlie

The company director failed to carry out a suitable risk assessment, plan the work and provide a design for erection and dismantling of the scaffold.

Chapple had no knowledge about the measures required to do this without putting people at risk and didn’t follow the correct protocols, the Health and Safety Executive said.

David was airlifted to St Mary’s Hospital and underwent emergency surgery, but when his condition did not improve, doctors advised his family to withdraw life support and he died on March 4.

The 38-year-old self-employed contractor, who was father to son Charlie, 20, and daughter, Tia, 18, had worked for Wembley Scaffolding Services for some 13 years.

David Smitih with his children Charlie and TiaDavid Smitih with his children Charlie and Tia

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His heartbroken family has urged companies to make sure their health and safety standards are maintained.

David’s mother Lorraine Wright, 62, said her son was “one of life’s nice guys”.

“It’s difficult to put into words how traumatic and painful the last few years have been,” she said.

Scaffolding collapse in Cricklewood (Pic: Roy Hutchinson)Scaffolding collapse in Cricklewood (Pic: Roy Hutchinson)

“Scaffolding is a dangerous occupation - that’s why there are so many safety regulations in place. For these measures not to be in place is unforgivable.

“Our only hope now is to keep campaigning about how important health and safety really is. Our family paid the ultimate price because of such failings.

“We want to prevent more children from having to hold their dad’s broken bones in intensive care while watching their life ebb away.

“We wouldn’t wish others to experience what we have.”

Darshana Patel, specialist workplace accident lawyer representing the family at Irwin Mitchell, said after the hearing: “

“David’s death is a stark reminder of the terrible consequences families can be left to face because of health and safety failings.

“We call on all businesses to ensure that they comply with the law at all times to help protect workers under their care.”

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