Northampton

Corby Willow Place scaffolding collapse firm fined £16K

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Media captionCCTV images show the moment the scaffolding fell into the shopping centre

A company has been fined after its scaffolding fell 20m (65ft) on to a street, forcing shoppers to run for safety.

Falling metal tubes smashed through shop canopies and pulled down signs in Willow Place Shopping Centre in Corby in August last year. No-one was hurt.

Desborough Scaffolding admitted two health and safety breaches at a hearing at Northampton magistrates on Monday.

It was fined £16,000 and ordered to pay £4,678 in costs.

Treatment for shock

Speaking after the case, prosecutor the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) said debris netting fitted to the scaffolding tubes acted as a "sail" in high winds on 17 August.

It caused the structure to pull away and apart, sending metal poles and other material raining down to the ground below.

Businesses were forced to close while the clean-up took place and the area was made safe.

Several people were treated for shock but no-one was physically hurt, the HSE added.

It investigated and found the scaffolding had not been erected in a way to ensure it would remain stable and had not 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.

'Sheer luck'

The company, of Stoke Albany Road, Desborough, pleaded 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."

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