Bricklayer left paralysed in wheelchair after scaffold fall
Builder, Rodney Foyster, has been handed a four-month suspended prison sentence after bricklayer fractured his back after falling 3m from faulty scaffolding.
Robert Wilkin, 70, of Lincoln, was left paralysed from the waist down and confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life following the incident at a warehouse in February 2013.
Lincoln Magistrates hear (20 February) that HSE found Mr Foyster was not trained in building scaffolding. He failed to check it was safe for use and failed to ensure the safety of workers once it was in use.
Mr Foyster was engaged to repair a damaged wall at the warehouse. He purchased and erected second-hand scaffolding. Scaffolding towers were positioned both on the inside and the outside of the warehouse. Wooden boards were removed from the tower on the inside and used to form a makeshift bridge between the two towers.
Mr Wilkin’s son, Damien, climbed the ladder to the top of the scaffold tower inside the building and successfully made it across the makeshift bridge to the outside scaffold tower. However, when Mr Wilkin climbed the ladder, he fell from the wooden boards onto the concrete floor below.
Catalogue of errors in assembly scaffolding
Rodney Foyster, 56, of Lincoln, was sentenced to four months in prison, suspended for 18 months, ordered to carry out 200 hours worth of unpaid community work. He was also ordered to pay £2,941 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching Section 4(1)(c) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005
Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Martin Waring said:
“Our investigations revealed a catalogue of errors made by Mr Foyster in the assembly of this scaffolding – something he was neither qualified for nor competent in doing.
There were numerous defects such as no edge protection, poor ladder safety and insufficient access onto the scaffolds.
Mr Wilkin has unfortunately paid for this lack of care with his health, having been left paralysed for the rest of his life.”
Mr Wilkin said:
“I don’t remember much about what happened after I fell. Lots of people were rushing about and it took the ambulance crew about 20 minutes to get me onto a back board because I had fallen in an awkward place between pallets of bricks.
Within a couple of days I was told it was unlikely I would ever walk again and I’ve been in a wheelchair ever since.
My life has been ruined because I can no longer do the things I used to do. I can’t go out on my own or drive. I feel my freedom has been taken from me and it’s been really hard on my family.”