Eighty-two year old Benjamin Withers, from Fareham, Hampshire, fell 12 feet to his death from an elevated walkway outside a health centre. His mobility scooter collided with a wooden weather screen which was situated around the main entrance and access-bridge to Fareham Health centre. A section of the screen gave way causing Mr Withers and his mobility scooter to fall through the gap onto a walkway below.
The HSE found that the screen had not been constructed to the required standard, no risk assessment had been made to consider the suitability of the screen and the structure had not been adequately maintained. It was 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 twenty occasions without ever being carried out.
The NHS Litigation Authority had taken on criminal responsibility for the two NHS Trusts responsible for the health centre at the material time. Both health bodies were abolished in 2013. The NHSLA entered guilty pleas to breaches of s3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and was fined £40,000 and ordered to pay £15,000 costs.