Self-employed bricklayer Robert Wilkin, 70, of Lincoln has been left paralysed from the waist down and confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life after breaking his back in two places after he fell from faulty scaffolding. His wife, Jane, has had to give up her own work in order to care for her husband.
Builder Rodney Foyster had constructed the scaffolding and employed Wilkin to use it when fixing a warehouse wall damaged by a lorry. Foyster, however, is not trained in scaffolding and had failed to check it was safe for use and also failed to bother checking the safety of workers once it was in use.
Nevertheless, Foyster was handed a suspended 18 month sentence and ordered to carry out only 200 hours of unpaid community work when he appeared before Lincoln Magistrates Court in February and was found guilty of breaching Section 4 (1) (c) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005. Foyster was also ordered to pay a total of £3,381 in costs.
Incredibly, HSE inspector Martin Waring said after the case was concluded: “I think this is a fair outcome to this case, the magistrates’ agreed that this was a very serious breach of the health and safety legislation.”