The NHS has been fined £40,000 after an 82-year-old man riding a mobility scooter fell 12ft to his death when a barrier on an elevated walkway collapsed. Benjamin Withers was visiting Fareham Health Centre, Hampshire, when his scooter collided with a wooden weather screen placed around the main entrance. The crash caused a section to give way and his mobility scooter fell through the gap on to the concrete footpath below.
Passing sentence at Portsmouth Crown Court, Judge Sarah Munroe said she would not set the fine higher than £40,000 as the process essentially involved one government department paying another. An HSE spokeswoman said: “The investigation also found that the collapsed section was so badly decayed that portions of the wood could be easily removed by hand. Planned maintenance work to replace the rotten wood had been cancelled and rescheduled on more than 20 occasions without ever being carried”.
Richard Tutt of Pump Court Chambers was instructed on behalf of the Health and Safety Executive.
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