Worker left blind in one eye after fall at Bilston industrial site

By Jamie Brassington | Bilston | News | Published:

A worker was left partially blind after falling on a slippery roof while working at a Bilston industrial site.

An aerial view showing the site in Bilston. Photo: Google

Jon Charles suffered a bleed on the brain after falling and suffering a head injury at James Durrans & Sons Ltd, a court heard.

He had been removing a pipe 25ft up on a building on behalf of his employers Kingswinford Engineering on April 12, 2016.

Mr Charles carried on working that day but hours later doctors found a bleed on his brain at hospital following an MRI scan, Dudley Magistrates Court was told.

The injury meant he lost vision in his right eye, reduced vision in his left eye and is no longer fit to work.

District judge Graham Wilkinson said: “He has lost his independence and become reliant on his family and friends.

"He is not able to work and this has affected him financially and socially. He was a keen fisherman but he is no longer able to compete.”

Kingswinford Engineering admitted it failed to ensure the safety of Mr Charles – and his colleague Craig Rowley who joined him on a second visit to the site that day. The firm was ordered to pay £27,170.

James Durrans & Sons Ltd admitted putting the pair at risk during the pipe work and was ordered to pay £120,170. The fines were not related to Mr Charles’ head injury.


The accident happened when Mr Charles was sent 25ft up to fix the corroded pipe, used for coal dust.

Mr Charles was lifted up to the roof in a man cage by a forklift truck before he had to navigate a three foot gap to reach the roof, the court heard.

He was not given a risk assessment but was given a safety harness.

When he went back down, his bleeding wound was cleaned up and he declined further treatment.


He then returned to the Kingswinford base before going back to the Bilston site, this time with Mr Rowley, to fit the pipe.

Mr Rowley received neither a risk assessment nor a safety harness.

These safety issues led to both the firms being fined.

Mr Wilkinson added: “I know both firms have taken this injury seriously and regret what happened.

“I know they have learned from their mistakes. James Durrans have installed barriers”

Jamie Brassington

By Jamie Brassington
Senior Multi-Media Journalist - @JamieB_Star

Senior reporter at the Express & Star. Contact me at

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