A Northamptonshire-based scaffolding company has been fined after a scaffold collapsed at a shopping centre.
People were forced to run for safety in the incident at the Willow Place Shopping Centre in Queen’s Square, Corby, on 17 August 2012. Luckily nobody was hurt, although several individuals required treatment for shock.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into what happened revealed that the scaffold supplied by local firm Desborough Scaffolding Limited was structurally unsound.
It concluded that the structure had not been erected in a way to ensure it would remain stable, nor had it been designed by a competent person to ensure it had adequate strength and rigidity for the purpose and environment it was to be used in.
CCTV footage of the incident shows the debris netting, which had been fitted to the scaffolding tubes, acted as a sail in the high winds on the day and caused the structure to pull away and fall apart.
Metal poles and other materials were sent raining 20 metres to the ground below as the scaffold smashed through shop canopies and pulled down signs, causing mayhem as shoppers ran for their lives.
Several businesses were forced to temporarily close while the clean-up took place and the area was made safe.
Desborough Scaffolding Limited, of Stoke Albany Road, Desborough, pleaded guilty at Northampton Magistrates’ Court to single breaches of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007.
It was fined £16,000 and ordered to pay a total of £4,678 in costs.
“It was sheer luck that no-one was seriously injured or killed as a result of this totally preventable incident,” said HSE Inspector Sam Russell.
“This case highlights the requirement of following prescribed industry designs and manufacturers’ instructions. The company’s failure to do so put innocent workers and members of the public at significant risk.”
Accident Advice Helpline can assist you in a personal injury claim against scaffolding and construction companies if you were injured by objects falling from height as a passer-by. Call us free on 0800 689 0500 or 0333 500 0993 from a mobile phone.
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