It is the second fine this week for a scaffolding collapse, following the £9,000 fine imposed on a Nottinghamshire contractor.
In the latest case, Terrence Foster, of Scaffolding Systems South West, was fined £8,000 and his partner in the business, Shaun Greenslade, was fined £5,000. Both were ordered to pay costs of £2,040 each in the case brought by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) at Exeter Magistrates.
A large section of scaffolding erected by the firm at a builders' merchants on 25 March 2009 fell away from the building, seriously damaging a number of parked cars. The scaffolding had been erected to allow re-roofing to take place at the premises on an Exeter trading estate.
HSE inspectors told the court that netting had been fixed to the scaffolding but extended almost 1.5m above the roof of the building. The netting was attached to the inside edge of the scaffold instead of the outside and acted as a sail to the prevailing wind causing the scaffolding to collapse.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector, Andrew Kingscott, said: "The degree of risk and danger to workers and the public was considerable. The standard of the scaffold as installed fell far short of the appropriate level. This incident could easily have led to human tragedy and should act as a wake-up call to scaffolders to carry their work out to industry standards.
Shaun Greenslade, trading as Scaffolding Systems South West Ltd of Warwick Road, Heavitree, Exeter, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 28(2) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007.
Terry Foster, also trading as Scaffolding Systems South West Ltd, pleaded guilty to a breach of the same regulation.