A COMPANY have been fined £105,000 after an Ardrossan worker was left paralysed in a horrific fall when he landed neck down onto concrete in a construction site.
Christopher Whannel, 32, was moving scaffolding when he fell more than 14 feet through a metal decking sheet which should have been secured by the workers of an English company, contracted to carry out the work.
He was left wheelchair bound and paralysed from the neck down for the rest of his life.
Defence Counsel, Barry Smith, advocate, pled guilty at Airdrie Sheriff Court this week, on behalf of Structural Metal Decking Limited.
The firm admitted that they failed to ensure the health and safety of persons, not in their employment, who were sub-contracted to a project on a construction site in, Kilsyth, Stirlingshire, on May 22, 2014.
Structural Metal Decking Limited had themselves been sub-contracted by John Graham Construction Limited.
The Dorset firm failed to ensure an area of decking was adequately fixed and led to Mr Whannel, an employee of M&S Scaffolding Services, while he was working on level one of the decking, suffer a horrific fall leading to severe injury and permanent impairment.
He fell from one area to another through an unsecured decking sheet, while he was moving scaffolding components.
Prosecutor Louise Beattie said: “The corner sheet flexed and gave way. He landed on his neck when he crashed onto the concrete. He fell without warning and it was described as like falling through a letter box.
“It was a life changing accident causing fractures to two vertebrae causing paralysis below the neck. His spinal cord was serious damaged and has very limited movement. ”
The court heard that Mr Whannel had worked in scaffolding since he was 16-years-old, was single and had an eight year-old daughter from a previous relationship. At the time of the tragic accident he was about to leave to work on a project offshore. He now has to be cared for full-time.
Mr Smith, said on behalf of the bungling company: “They are first offenders and the company has had a good safety record. It was simply a mistake, an error. There is no criticism directed at Mr Whannel. It is accepted the company fell short of the required standards and took immediate steps to remedy their deficiencies. I acknowledge the very serious injuries suffered by Mr Whannel and that must be taken into account by the court.”
Sheriff Derek O’Carroll, said: “I must apply a fine which will bring the message home to the company and its shareholders.
“It was catastrophic for Mr Whannel, who was left as a paraplegic for life. His life was destroyed forever.”