Scaffolder died at Lawford Road Cemex plant in Rugby after safety concerns were raised


A man died while working at the Cemex plant a short time after concerns had been raised over safety, an inquest has heard.

John Altoft, 29, from Scunthorpe was working away on business when the accident happened.

The incident occurred at the Cemex UK factory at Lawford Road in Rugby shortly before 2am on January 18.

An inquest was opened at Coventry Crown Court on Tuesday and was continuing the time the Advertiser went to press.

The ten strong jury heard how the tragedy happened during the plant’s annual shutdown period for maintenance.

A number of contractors were working on th site including Mr Altoft, who was working as a scaffolder for Cape.

He was rebuilding scaffolding which had been damaged four days earlier by falling debris inside a huge cone-shaped chamber known as a cyclone.

It is understood that Mr Altoft had worked for Cape at various points in his life since 2001, when he joined the firm as a labourer.

The project in Rugby was his fifth stint for the company and, prior to working at the Cemex site, he had been working for Cape in Scotland and was well known in the business.

West Midlands Ambulance Service said crews treated a significant head injury, but Mr Altoft was pronounced dead at the scene.

Giving evidence, Cemex employee Brian Southam, engineering & maintenance manager, told the court how materials had fallen onto the scaffholding a short time before the accident.

He said the area of concern was made sound.

“The workers were re-deployed and the next involvement I had was at 1.45am when the unfortunate accident happened,” added Mr Southam.

He told assistant deputy coroner Tom Leeper how a number of new safety measures have been implemented since Mr Altoft’s death.

See next week’s Advertiser for verdict.

The cement firm was fined £200,000 following the death of a worker in an explosion at its Rugby premises in 2008.

The Health and Safety Executive prosecuted Cemex UK Operations Ltd after the death of 28-year-old Rugby man Peter Reynolds, on January 15.

The force of the explosion was so great that it blew Mr Reynolds out through the side of the building.