Father-of-two fell 7m through fragile Harrogate roof

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A young father of two suffered life-changing injuries after he plunged seven metres through an unsafe fragile roof at a farm in Harrogate, magistrates have been told.

His employer, a Tockwith-based agricultural engineering company hired to work on the building, had failed to provide any precautions to protect workers from falls.

The incident, on June 4 2013, left 22-year-old Daniel Telford with multiple injuries, including a broken neck, shoulder, hip, and shattered pelvis and vertebrae.

Mr Telford, of Long Marston, whose wife was then pregnant, was in hospital for four weeks and had to use a wheelchair for three months after being discharged.

He is still unable to return to work and said his agonising injuries changed his life.

“I feel it has been a constant battle - so many routine and normal day to day tasks are still a challenge,” he said.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigated and prosecuted Mr Telford’s employer and its director for serious safety failings.

Harrogate Magistrates were told last week that Mr Telford had crashed onto a concrete floor after the roof-he was standing on gave way.

HSE found his company, and its director, had failed to take any steps to prevent falls through the roof, and served an immediate prohibition notice stopping any further work at height until precautions were taken.

Employer Spruce and Hawe Ltd, of Blind Lane, Tockwith, was fined £12,000 after admitting breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. Director Michael Spruce, of Second Avenue, Wetherby, Leeds, was fined £3,000. Costs of £513 were also imposed.

The fall in Daniel’s words

Daniel, now 23, described how the fall had changed his life for ever: “After I fell, I was lying on the floor in horrendous pain, but because of fluid building up in my throat, I was shouting for someone to put me in the recovery position. If they hadn’t, I know I could have choked to death.

“I had a number of operations and lots of different surgery. I’d broken my neck, both shoulder blades, several ribs and had a collapsed lung. When I could get off my back in the hospital bed, it was absolutely agonising.

“I also developed hyposensitive skin from the broken neck which meant that the slightest touch, even water or wind on my skin, was painful. It still is, a year later.

“Twelve months later, I am slowly getting better and hope to be able to return to work eventually. I am walking again, although my hip often gives way. I feel it has been a constant battle - so many routine and normal day to day tasks are still a challenge.”

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