Saturday, 05 September 2015

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Boss convicted after man suffers horror injury in Carlisle roof fall

A labourer whose boss sent him to work on the roof of a Carlisle building without training or safety equipment suffered this horrific injury.

Alan Hind photo
Alan Hind

The family of Alan Hind, who was injured in February 2008, agreed to release the picture after the man who was his boss on the day of his accident was convicted by a jury of breaching health and safety law.

They wanted to highlight just how vital it is for employers to follow adequate health and safety procedures.

At Carlisle Crown Court, a jury convicted Mr Hind’s supervisor Eric Murray, 63, who allowed the 28-year-old to work on the roof of a building at Watt’s Yard, off London Road, without safety equipment or training.

Murray’s older brother Robert, 65, admitted two health and safety breaches at an earlier court hearing.

After the case, Mr Hind spoke about his ordeal for the first time

He suffered massive head injuries in the 25ft fall, including extensive skull fractures, a badly broken jaw, a severed optic nerve that left him blind in one eye and irreparable brain damage.

Surgeons carried out three complex operations and six months after his fall used a titanium plate to replace a large section of his shattered skull.

Recalling his wait for the plate to be inserted, he said: “That 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.”

Alan, from Corrie Common, near Lockerbie, has been unable to work since his accident. He welcomed the guilty verdict but had a warning for other young workers.

He said: “If it’s not safe, it’s not worth it.”

Alan’s solicitor, Nick Gutteridge, from Burnetts in Carlisle and Newcastle, said: “We are pleased to see the Murrays held to account but the tragedy is that this accident could have been avoided.

“Alan has been permanently disabled by his head injury: as well as the physical damage to his hearing and sight, he also suffers pain, flashbacks, memory loss and some personality changes.

Eric Murray, from Dalton, near Lockerbie, denied being in charge of dismantling the building at Watt’s Yard on the day of Alan Hind’s accident.

But after a four-day trial the jury convicted him, accepting the prosecution argument that he was supervising the workmen and could have prevented the accident.

Brother Robert, from Annan, who had bought the building being dismantled, had earlier admitted two health and safety breaches linked to the accident.

The trial heard powerful evidence of how Eric Murray – who has years of experience in erecting and dismantling buildings – allowed workers onto the roof of the building without any proper safety equipment or without adequate training for safe working at height.

Mr Hind, whose usual job was as a slaughterman, had no previous experience of working in the construction industry. Murray said erecting scaffolding would have been too expensive.

Murray repeatedly claimed that he had simply been just one of the dismantling team, working under the direction of his brother. The brothers will both be sentenced at Carlisle Crown Court on July 19.

Alan Hind and his family said they are particularly grateful for the support of Headway, the brain injury charity.



Should there be heavier fines for dog owners who don't pick up their dog's mess?



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