Northampton Magistrates’ Court heard that nobody was hurt but several people required treatment for shock following the incident at the Willow Place Shopping Centre in Corby on 17 August 2012.
The incident was caught on CCTV
The court was told that debris netting had been fitted to the scaffolding tubes, but in high winds on the day it acted as a sail and caused the structure to pull away and apart – sending metal poles and other materials raining to the ground below.
The falling scaffold smashed through shop canopies and also pulled down signs.
An HSE investigation found the scaffold 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.
Desborough Scaffolding Limited, of Desborough, was fined £16,000 and ordered to pay £4,678 in costs after pleading guilty to safety breaches.
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.”