A council has been fined £20,000 for serious safety failings after a 77-year-old tenant fell four feet through an access hole in her hallway that had been left uncovered by council workers.

Renfrewshire Council admitted breaching Section 3(1) of the Health And Safety At Work Act 1974 when Margaret O'Donnell suffered arm and thigh fractures in the fall. It happened while workers were installing a new central heating boiler in her flat in Paisley in 2010.

Paisley Sheriff Court was told each boiler installation is normally completed in a day and involves a hatch cut in the floorboards to allow access to pipe work and cabling.

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Following the case, HSE Inspector Russell Berry, said: "Simple measures, such as a temporary plywood cover, would have eliminated the risks and prevented this incident."