Fatal accident inquiry into tragic death of joiner concludes

Fatal accident inquiry into tragic death of joiner concludes

The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) notes the conclusion of the fatal accident inquiry into the death of John Norman Murray on Lewis.

The inquiry considered what steps could be taken to prevent further deaths in similar circumstances and was held following a specialist investigation by the Procurator Fiscal into Mr Murray’s death. This followed an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) which concluded in 2020.

Mr Murray was an experienced joiner who was working on the roof of Bragar Community Hub Buildings, Lewis on 13 November 2019. He fell when the hooks of his roof ladder became detached from the ridge of the roof and later died in hospital.

The family of Mr Murray had legal representation at the inquiry and the evidence of a consultant engineer was led on their behalf. The engineer’s evidence looked at alternative ways in which work at height could be carried out. Photographs of freestanding mobile scaffolding towers being used inappropriately and outside industry guidance on other sites were provided as part of evidence led.

The sheriff has recommended that the HSE review these photographs and take any remedial action required. It was further recommended that HSE consider whether any additional measures are required to highlight and reinforce guidance on the use of mobile scaffolding towers.

Following the publication of the determination, Debbie Carroll, who leads on health and safety investigations for COPFS, said: “We note and welcome the sheriff’s determination.

“The procurator fiscal ensured that the facts and circumstances of Mr Murray’s death were considered by specialist investigators and led in evidence at the mandatory fatal accident inquiry.

“Evidence led on practices at other sites saw recommendations made on consideration of current guidance on mobile scaffolding towers.

“Mr Murray was appropriately carrying out a task with suitable equipment, free from defects, in compliance with HSE guidance.

“Our thoughts are with Mr Murray’s family at this time.

“The procurator fiscal service will continue to keep in contact with the family and answer any questions they may have about the determination.”

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