The family of a construction worker who plunged to his death from a defective scaffolding rig have issued a warning after a company was fined thousands of pounds.

David Smith, who worked at Wembley Scaffolding Services, suffered various injuries including brain and internal injuries when he fell five metres from a structure in Cricklewood Broadway on February 16, 2017.

The construction company is registered at Hillier Hopkins' address in Clarendon Road, Watford, and the company director Sean Chapple is from Northwood. 

Smith, a 38-year-old father-of-two from Cricklewood, was airlifted to St Mary’s Hospital and underwent emergency surgery, but his condition worsened and his family were told it was unlikely he would survive – and if he did, he would be severely brain damaged.

His family decided to withdraw his life support and he was pronounced dead on March 4.

Following his death, his family issued work accident lawyers Irwin Mitchell to investigate the incident.

It was found company director Mr Chapple failed to carry out a suitable risk assessment, plan the work and provide a design for erecting and dismantling the scaffold.

Wembley Scaffolding Services were fined nearly £7,860 with £8,940 costs after pleading guilty to health and safety breaches as part of a Health and Safety prosecution.

Mr Chapple received a suspended jail term.

Insurers for the company also admitted liability for Mr Smith’s death as part of a civil case.

Watford Observer:

David with his son Charlie (left) and daughter Tia (right)

His mother, Lorraine Wright, said: “Dave was one of life’s nice guys. He was a real hard worker, who would do anything for his family. He had a great personality and was loved by not just his family but his many friends.

“The years since Dave’s death have been incredibly difficult. It’s still hard to accept his death, particularly the circumstances of it. What hurts the most is that he’s not here to see Charlie and Tia grow up and what beautiful people they have become despite what they have been through.

“It’s difficult to put into words how traumatic and painful the last few years have been. The pain is still raw for all of us, particularly Charlie and Tia, who have never known how to process the horrors they witnessed seeing their Dad in hospital and the loss they feel every day.”

Watford Observer:

David was described as a "much-loved" son and father

She continued: “At the time we kept telling them that it was a tragic accident and nobody was to blame. However, as more detail emerged as part of the investigations the more upset and angry we were about what was allowed to happen.

“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.”

The family have joined the legal team at Irwin Mitchell in an act to urge companies to ensure health and safety standards are constantly maintained.

Watford Observer:

David's family are calling for companies to improve health and safety standards

Darshana Patel, the lawyer who represented the family, said: “David was a much-loved son and a father who worked hard for and was adored by his family.

“While more than three years may have passed since his death, Lorraine and the rest of the family remain devastated by his death, particularly given how unexpected and avoidable it was.

“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.”

Mr Smith worked for the scaffolding services for around 13 years before the incident which also seriously injured another worker as they fell.