A BUILDING firm has ended up with a £67,000 court bill after a joiner suffered serious head injuries and needed more than 80 facial stitches after an accident at a timber-framed house.

Victim Robert Eifion Jones suffered two skull fractures, a broken nose and other injuries at Bodfari between Mold and Denbigh.

A metal beam, being moved into place by a crane, struck another beam and knocked a colleague off balance and his step ladder fell, Mold Crown Court was told.

He was left suspended in the air holding on to the beam, which swung and knocked another beam off its timber frame and self-employed Mr Jones was struck.

The crane driver – who could not see inside the house – heard screams and went to see what was happening and dialled 999 when he saw Mr Jones on the floor. He was taken by ambulance to hospital following the incident in November 2015.

Williams Homes (Bala) Ltd, which earlier admitted a health and safety charge, has been fined £60,000 with costs of £7,233.

T J Crane Hire Ltd, of Wrexham, was previously cleared of a health and safety charge against the business.

Judge Niclas Parry said Mr Jones had been struck to the head by the beam as it fell.

"It is no exaggeration to say he could have been killed," he said.

The court heard computer software consultants Andrew and Nancy Emslie bought a plot at Bodfari and were at the time in the process of building their own home.

Mr Emslie, who was project managing it, contacted Williams Homes (Bala) Ltd which designed, manufactured and installed timber framed properties and Mr Jones was the joiner who with his colleague was erecting it on the company's behalf.

Barrister Adrian Farrow, prosecuting for the Health and Safety Executive, said the original plan to use a telehandler was abandoned and a crane was brought in but there was no risk assessment and no safe work method was agreed.

An ad hoc arrangement was agreed between the crane driver and Mr Jones, with Mr Emslie being used to give directions to the crane driver who could not see inside the house.

The company, which pleaded guilty at the magistrates court, said it fully agreed it had not implemented a risk or method statement at the site.

The firm had a long association with Mr Jones who was regarded as a very experienced man.

It was not a deliberate breach, the company had fully co-operated with the investigation and had made changes.

The company took health and safety very seriously, was a local company providing employment and which had won awards and commendations for its provision of social housing.

Judge Parry said Mr Jones suffered a serious injury as a result of being struck by the beam.

But he said the company would be sentenced on the basis that it was not the only ones which owed a duty to ensure the safety of Mr Jones.

There was also a duty on the crane company and on Mr Jones himself.

The injury was the consequence of what was an inherently dangerous situation.

People had assumed that others had made the necessary checks and provided the necessary risk assessments.

During an earlier hearing Mr Jones said he asked for the beam to be moved slowly and in a split second he turned around and the beam came down.

His last vision was of his colleague grabbing hold of the beam attached to the crane.

"He was hanging from it," he said. "I just blacked out at that point."

He sustained two fractures of the skull, an indent to his sinus, a broken nose, skin was taken off his head and he had various cuts to the face.

The injuries to his face went through the flesh and he needed about 85 stitches, he said.