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

A metal beam being moved into place by a crane moved slightly and knocked colleague Cian Brookes off balance and his step ladder fell, it was alleged at Mold Crown Court.

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

The crane driver, who could not see inside the house, heard screams and went to see what was happening. He called 999 when he saw Mr Jones on the floor.

Mr Jones was taken by ambulance to hospital following the incident in November 2015.

 

T J Crane Hire Ltd, of Wrexham, denies a charge under the Health and Safety at Work Act that it failed to discharge its duty to conduct its undertaking in such a way to ensure that people not in its employment were not exposed to risk.

The court was told that computer software consultants Andrew and Nancy Emslie bought a plot at Bodfari and were 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.

Mr Jones was the joiner who was erecting it with his colleague on the company's behalf.

Barrister Adrian Farrow, prosecuting for the Health and Safety Executive, said the Williams Homes company had already pleaded guilty to a health and safety offence.

It had been impossible to use a tele-handler to put the steel beams in place and a crane was booked, the court heard.

The prosecution alleged that simple steps should have been taken to ensure that a competent person was in charge and a risk assessment was carried out.

It had not been established whether it was a crane hire - with a crane and operator being provided to a client who would be responsible for planning the work, selecting a suitable crane, and loading or "slinging", and signalling arrangements - or whether it was a contract lift where the crane company would take responsibility for all planning of the work, the prosecutor said.

That day, Mr Emslie was tasked to act as the signaller - to relay messages from inside the house to the crane driver.

Mr Farrow said that it was "fraught with risk" that no safe system of work was in place.

In evidence, Mr Jones said beams were being attached and Mr Emslie acted as the banksman or signaller.

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

"My last vision I have is of Cian grabbing hold of the beam attached to the crane," he said.

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

Mr Jones 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.

Cross-examined by Miles Bennett, defending, Mr Jones agreed that he felt troubled at the number of people available to do the work but felt sorry for Mr Emslie.

A crane had been booked previously which could not get to the site and he agreed that he felt slightly pressured to get the work done that day.

But when Mr Bennett suggested that, at the time of the accident, the beam was not actually being moved by the crane but that his colleague lost balance on the step ladder and had been hanging onto the beam, Mr Jones replied: "No, definitely not."

The trial before Judge Niclas Parry is proceeding.