McAleer & Rushe and Lee Smith Carpentry order to pay after one man died and two others were injured in a site accident in Milton Keynes

Two construction firms have been ordered to pay £126,000 for their role in a scaffolding accident in Milton Keynes that left one man dead and two others seriously injured.

Principal contractor on the Jury's Inn site, McAleer & Rushe of Northern Ireland was fined £90,000 and ordered to pay costs of £42,000. The cladder on the site, Lee Smith Carpentry of Hampshire was fined £36,000 and ordered to pay costs of £28,000.

McAleer & Rushe had earlier pleaded guilty to breaching sections of the Health and Safety At Work etc Act 1974. Lee Smith Carpentry admitted four breaches of health and safety regulations.

The incident occurred in Witan Gate, Milton Keynes on 11 April 2006. John Robinson, and his son Mark were working on the site, alongside Ivan Penkov on the 40-metre-high scaffolding when it collapsed.

They fell to the ground and were trapped under rubble until rescue workers could reach them.

Father of three, John Robinson, 49, was taken to hospital suffering from serious injuries to his left leg. Three days later he died from a pulmonary embolism, as a result of the damage to his leg.

John's son Mark Robinson suffered a punctured lung, broken vertebrae and ribs and significant cuts and bruising in the fall. He was unable to work for some time after the incident.

Ivan Penkov suffered serious fractures to his legs and arms and spent a month in hospital recovering. He has undergone a number of operations and has had to re-train as a draftsman.

The court heard that a combination of failures led to the scaffolding collapse. The scaffolding was not strong or stable enough for the work being carried out. Inspection of the scaffold was also inadequate, despite specific instructions from the Health and Safety Executive and McAleer's health and safety manager.

Stephen Hartley, the HSE principal inspector, said: “John Robinson lost his life in this incident and two others have had their lives changed forever as a result. It's a wonder that more people weren't hurt.

"It is totally unacceptable for companies to disregard the safety of their workers. If the scaffolding had been designed, erected and managed properly, this incident would never have happened."

John Robinson's widow, Christine Robinson, said: “My children and I have not come to terms with his death; we don't understand why it had to happen.

"This incident should never have happened if both companies had ensured the safety of those working for them. Every day I miss John so much - my best friend, my soul mate and my future."