A pensioner was left housebound for three months after she fell through a hatch left open by workmen – which also caught out her brother-in-law.
Emily Begg suffered serious injuries after plummeting through the trap door.
And as the 82-year-old was being treated, her brother-in-law, Bryn Wayte, then fell through the hole – which had again been left unattended by electricians.
At Aberdeen Sheriff Court yesterday, RB Wilson Electrical Ltd admitted breaching health and safety rules and was fined £24,000.
The Aberdeen-based firm had been contracted by Aberdeenshire Council to rewire 50 properties last year, including six on Monaltrie Road in Ballater.
Four electricians arrived at Mrs Begg’s bungalow on February 19 to carry out the work, accessing areas under the floor via hatches at the front and rear of the property.
The following day, the rear hatch was left open while one employee went to collect equipment from another room.
The court heard Mrs Begg fell after being asked to help another electrician find a socket nearby.
Depute fiscal Shona Nicholson said: “Mrs Begg followed the electrician towards the back door unaware that the hatch was open, as there were no barriers or warning signs and no-one had informed her.
“Mrs Begg fell down the uncovered hatch, though her fall was broken prior to her hitting the sub-floor area by her ribs and arms.
“The electrician turned around on hearing a scream, and went to help her.
“One employee noticed there was blood coming from her left leg and bandaged it with kitchen towels.”
Ms Nicholson said things went from bad to worse when Mrs Begg’s brother-in-law, Mr Wayte, arrived.
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She said: “The employees returned to their work while Mrs Begg was being treated but, unbeknown to them, she had sent her sister a text message about what happened and the sister had sent her husband to visit.
“Mr Wayte arrived while the same hatch had been left open and unattended.
“He entered the back door, as was his normal practice, and fell through the uncovered hatch.”
Mrs Begg had a deep six-inch cut on her leg following her fall down the 3ft hole, extensive bruising and pain in her ribs.
As well as being housebound for a spell, she has been left with visible scarring.
Ms Nicholson added: “Prior to the fall, Mrs Begg considered herself to be active and attended a walking club and went swimming, but she has been unable to return to these activities.
“She continues to take painkillers, and feels she has lost a lot of confidence.”
Mr Wayte later got an infection as a result of the cuts on his leg, and had to take two weeks off from his job at Deeside Books and Gifts in Ballater.
The Health and Safety Executive concluded that RB Wilson had failed to take “suitable and sufficient” measures to prevent such an accident.
Representing the firm, which has 30 employees, defence agent Mark Donaldson said efforts had been made to prevent anything similar ever happening again.
He added: “The employees involved were extremely concerned and distressed, and significant reflection followed from this incident.”
Both company directors, Graham Skinner and Bryan Wilson, attended court for the hearing.