Pedestrians sent running as wind impacts on debris netting
Desborough Scaffolding Limited has been prosecuted and fined after shoppers were forced to run for safety from a scaffold which collapsed and fell some 20m at the Queen’s Square shopping centre on Corby on 17 August 2012. There were no injuries caused by the incident although several people required treatment for shock.
Northampton Magistrates heard that debris netting had been fitted to the scaffold. In high winds on the day the netting acted as a sail and caused the structure to collapse sending components and other materials raining to the ground below.
The falling scaffold smashed through shop canopies pulled down signs. Several businesses were forced to close while the clean-up took place and the area was made safe. The incident was captured on CCTV.
The HSE investigation found the scaffold had not been erected to ensure it would remain stable. The structure had not been designed by a competent person with adequate strength and rigidity.
Design should be able to withstand high wind loads without failing
Desborough Scaffolding Limited, of Desborough was fined £16,000 and ordered to pay £4,678 in costs after pleading guilty to single breaches of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Sam Russell said:
“It was sheer luck that no-one was seriously injured or killed as a result of this totally preventable incident.
Scaffolding erected to an approved design by competent persons should be able to withstand high wind loads without failing.
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.”