Brothers fined £13,000 over worker's roof plunge

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The Independent Online

Two brothers have been fined a total of £13,000 after a worker suffered a crushed skull when he fell through a roof, the Health and Safety Executive said today.

Alan Hind, 28, was helping to demolish an industrial building in Carlisle when he plunged nearly 20ft (6m) to the concrete floor below.

Mr Hind, of Corrie Common, near Lockerbie, suffered 16 skull fractures, broke his jaw in three places, fractured his wrist and damaged a kidney.

He has now lost his hearing is in his right ear and is blind in his left eye.

Parts of his brain were so badly damaged they had to be removed.

Carlisle Crown Court heard that Robert Murray was in control of the work project and Eric Murray was in charge of dismantling the building that Mr Hind was working on, said the HSE.

Robert Murray, 56, of Annan - trading as Murray Structures - pleaded guilty to not hiring trained workers and failing to ensure the work was planned and carried out safely. He was fined £8,000 and ordered to pay £4,000 towards prosecution costs.

Eric Murray, 54, of Dalton, near Lockerbie - trading as EJ Murray (Steel Structures) - was found guilty of failing to take measures to prevent workers falling and being injured following a trial last month. He was fined £5,000 and ordered to pay £8,000 costs.

Mr Hind has been unable to return to work since the incident and had to wait six months for a titanium plate to be inserted into his damaged skull.

He said: "It was a frightening time. There was nothing to protect my brain - just skin. I was worried to go out. I didn't like to be around lots of people in case I bumped my head."

David Charnock, HSE construction inspector in Cumbria, said: "Mr Hind is lucky to be alive following his fall, which could and should have been prevented. He sustained multiple injuries which will affect him for the rest of his life.

"Unfortunately neither Robert nor Eric Murray took the necessary safety precautions and Mr Hind suffered horrific injuries as a consequence.

"The workers they employed were casual labourers and did not have the skills or experience to work on industrial roofs.

"As this incident demonstrates, carrying out work at height can result in serious injury and even death if not properly planned.

"Steps must be taken to prevent people falling, and everyone involved in the work must be properly trained."