A council was yesterday ordered to pay £8,000 over a horror crash on a golf course which left two workers with severe injuries and fearing for their lives.

West Dunbartonshire Council pleaded guilty to health and safety breaches after Donald McCandless, 62, and Alan McGrath, 39, were thrown from a maintenance truck with no seatbelts or roll protection at Dalmuir Golf Club.

Mr McCandless, who was driving, suffered a spinal injury after the 6x4 all-terrain vehicle rolled over him and Mr McGrath, who was a passenger, was left with serious leg injuries after it landed on top of him at the Clydebank course.

A John Deere vehicle similar to the one involved in the crash

A source close to the case said both men “thought they were gonners” in the July 2018 crash and have been left with lasting injuries.

The workers, both from Clydebank, have launched civil actions against the council but since returned to work.

At Dumbarton Sheriff court, the council was fined £5,000 for failing to make a suitable risk assessment of the dangers and a further £3,000 for failing to protect the men by providing a substandard vehicle, leading to their severe injury.

Procurator fiscal depute Sandra Craig said the men were collecting flags on the John Deere vehicle when the accident happened at a corner on a man-made astro turf path.

The crash happened at Dalmuir Municipal Golf Course

She said: “At that point Mr McCandless felt the vehicle slipping back.

“It slipped and overturned several times and both were thrown from the vehicle.

“The vehicle landed on Mr McGrath.”

Mr McCandless, who has 43 years service with the council, suffered a spinal fracture and Mr McGrath suffered a broken leg, dislocated ankle, severe laceration to the leg and other injuries.

Fiscal depute Craig said: “He was able to reach his phone and call for assistance.

“No risk assessment had been done in relation to this vehicle. There appears to have been no steps taken by the council to install seat belts or protection.”

Donald McCandless was driving at the time of the crash

Nigel Ettles, the solicitor representing the council, said the council admitted two charges under the Health and Safety at Work Act.

He said the vehicle in question was 13 years old and the only one on the site which had been found to be unsafe.

Mr Ettles said: “The council had two other vehicles on the golf course. Both did have protection in place.

“In the Health and Safety Executive report there were a number of recommendations and actions. All recommendations and actions have been carried out.”

Sheriff William Gallacher said the incident had “very serious consequences” for both men but he would restrict the fines on the council as they are not a profit making organisation and had cooperated fully with the subsequent investigation and safety recommendations.

Both men, who made a phased return to work following their recoveries, declined to comment yesterday due to their ongoing legal cases, which the council has admitted liability for.

But a source told the Record they feared they may die in the crash, which left McCandless with metal pins and plates in his spine and Mr McGrath with pins in his leg.

Ian McGrath suffered serious leg injuries

They said: “They remember seeing the vehicle flipping up in the air and crashing down. They thought they were gonners.

“Donald is on light duties now and still has trouble with his back. Alan had a gaping wound on his leg. They’ve been very lucky. Someone could have been killed.”

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A spokeswoman for West Dunbartonshire Council said: “We are committed to the health and safety of all of our employees and are sorry this incident occurred.

“Lessons have been learned and a number of measures have been put in place including providing additional training and enhancing vehicles to ensure the safety of our employees.

“We have also fully complied with the Health and Safety Executive recommendations.”