Widow backs site safety campaign

Christine Walton, widow of Peter Walton, who died after falling from scaffolding.
Christine Walton, widow of Peter Walton, who died after falling from scaffolding.
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THE widow of a joiner who died after plunging 20ft from unstable scaffolding has backed a new safety initiative which aims to reduce deaths on construction sites.

Christine Walton’s husband, Peter, suffered catastrophic head injuries after an unsecured board gave way. He died five weeks later in hospital.

Mrs Walton, from Anchorsholme, said: “Peter is still my first thought in the morning and my last at night.

“We are all pushed by money and time constraints but work should still be checked.

“If someone had done that where Peter was working, he would still be alive today.”

Inspectors from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) will spend the next month visiting sites in Lancashire where refurbishment or repair work is being carried out as part of a country-wide drive to improve standards.

Mrs Walton, 57, added: “Any initiative that helps to tackle deaths, and prevents other people from having to go through what I and my family went through, has to be a good thing.

“Peter trusted the scaffolding had been erected safely, but it wasn’t. He died because the companies responsible for his safety didn’t do their jobs properly.

“Health and safety should be at the forefront of employers’ minds in the construction industry, as what happened to Peter could happen to anyone.”

Mr Walton, a 55-year-old father-of-two, died following the fall at Altham Industrial Estate near Burnley in May 2006.

GlenMill Group Developments Ltd and Howorths Scaffolding Services Ltd were fined after pleading guilty to a charge of exposing to risk persons not in their employment.

During 2010 and 2011, four workers were killed while working in construction in Lancashire and 71 serious injuries were reported.

Dorothy Shaw, HSE’s principal inspector for construction in Lancashire, said: “The refurbishment sector continues to be the most risky for construction workers, but small changes to working practices can make all the difference.

“Poor management of risks in this industry is unacceptable. Even the smallest of firms should have a culture which allows workers to raise issues.

“As we have demonstrated in the past, we will take strong action if we find evidence workers are being unnecessarily put at risk.”