A workman suffered brain damage after falling 15 feet on to concrete while he was helping to build a luxury villa for his boss.
The building company has been fined £5,000 after it admitted health and safety failings led to sub-contractor John Niven’s catastrophic injuries.
Dalgety Bay-based Brebner & Williamson Ltd pleaded guilty to being responsible for the accident during the building of director Graham Williamson’s new home in Crook of Devon in July 2016.
Perth Sheriff Court was told that Mr Niven fell off a hastily-arranged scaffolding platform which had been erected without any risk assessment.
The court was told that the company was now on the brink of being wound up and had just over £1,000 left in the bank to pay towards the fine.
Brebner & Williamson Ltd admitted failing to ensure work at height was properly planned, appropriately supervised and carried out in a safe manner during July 2016.
Fiscal depute Gemma Eadie told the court: “The house was being built to be the home of director Graham Williamson. There was a gap in the scaffolding where the sun room was going to be built.”
She said the three workmen on site had finished their scheduled work for the day and wanted to carry on with more jobs out of a sense of loyalty to Mr Williamson.
They used a youngman board to bridge a gap in the scaffolding and Mr Niven was standing on it when he was handed an 8×4 foot sheeting board.
“During the course of the task the youngman board slipped. It had not been fitted in any permanent way,” she told the court.
“It moved away from the building and as a consequence Mr Niven fell from the youngman board and landed on concrete 15 feet below where the board had been.
“Mr Niven was airlifted to Ninewells Hospital. He sustained a fractured rib, elbow, cheekbone and nose, and also a fractured skull and a blood clot on his brain.
“He underwent multiple surgeries over the following year. He has sustained slight brain damage as a result of the accident and has short term memory loss. He was an in-patient for two months and has been left with various scars on his body. He has been unable to continue the lifestyle he had before, including playing golf.”
Miss Eadie told the court that Mr Niven was unable to return to full-time work for almost three years after the incident but now carried out landscaping work.
She added: “The workmen were not properly trained to work at height. They were not risk assessed. No one on site had been allocated responsibility for health and safety.”
Solicitor Andrew Lothian, defending, said: “Both directors personally regret the injury Mr Niven suffered.
“Mr Williamson accepts the supervision of those working on the site was inadequate. He could see friends and colleagues wanted to get on with building his house as quickly as possible.
“He feels angry with himself. Mr Niven was a helpful and kind man and clearly wanted to assist.”
Sheriff Lindsay Foulis said that because of the company’s financial position, the fine would be partly “symbolic”, but had to be imposed to send a message to the industry.