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Construction worker's skull crushed after six-metre fall

30 Jul 10 Two contractors have been fined a total of £13,000 after a worker was left with a crushed skull and permanent brain damage when he fell through an industrial roof in Carlisle.

Two contractors have been fined a total of £13,000 after a worker was left with a crushed skull and permanent brain damage when he fell through an industrial roof in Carlisle.

Alan Hind, from Corrie Common near Lockerbie, was working on the demolition of an industrial building when he fell six metres to the concrete floor below. The 28-year-old’s sight, hearing and personality have been permanently affected.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted Robert Murray, trading as Murray Structures, and Eric Murray, trading as E.J. Murray (Steel Structures), following the incident at London Road on 27 February 2008.

Carlisle Crown Court heard that Robert Murray was in overall control of the project, and that his brother, Eric, was in charge of dismantling the building Hind was working on.

In the fall, Hind suffered 16 skull fractures, broke his jaw in three places, fractured his wrist, damaged a kidney and is now deaf in his right ear and blind in his left eye. Parts of his brain were so badly damaged that they had to be removed.

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.”

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Eric Murray was found guilty of a health and safety offence following a trial at Carlisle Crown Court last month. He was prosecuted for breaching Regulation 6(3) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 by failing to take measures to prevent workers falling and being injured.

Robert Murray pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 5 of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 by not hiring trained workers, and Regulation 29(1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 by failing to ensure the work was planned and carried out safely.

David Charnock, HSE construction inspector in Cumbria, said: “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 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.”

Robert Murray, of Carlyle’s Place, Annan, Dumfriesshire, was fined £8,000 and ordered to pay £4,000 towards the cost of the prosecution at Carlisle Crown Court on 29 July 2010. Eric Murray, of Dalton, Lockerbie, Dumfriesshire, was fined £5,000 and ordered to pay costs of £8,000.

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