The family of a man who froze to death at a Scottish onshore wind farm have been given a six-figure sum of compensation.
Ronnie Alexander was 74 when he died at the 25-turbine Afton development, near New Cumnock, Ayrshire after being stranded during severe weather.
The security guard from Kilmarnock succumbed to hypothermia after his cabin generator failed, leaving him without electricity or heat.
The tragedy happened just months before his 50th wedding anniversary to his wife, Mary Alexander.
Mary, 82, said the only positive she can hope for is that construction bosses everywhere make things safer for workers.
She said: “The last few years have been utterly hellish.
“Everything about the loss of Ronnie and life without him has been a heartbreak.
“Now that all the court hearings are finished it would be wrong to say I’m ‘happy’ or ‘better’ – I’m only glad those parts are over and I can focus my full attention on my family.
“I just hope lessons can be learned from all this by those who operate in construction or remote locations.
“Keeping people safe should not be a hassle or an afterthought. It should be priority number one to avoid these very tragedies.
“I’d finally just like to thank everyone who supported us but we now just wish to have our privacy respected as we focus on the future.”
On January 21, 2018, Mr Alexander and his colleague were the only staff on site at the wind farm, hours after the Met Office issued a yellow “be aware” warning for heavy snow.
An alarm was raised after Mr Alexander failed to return home from a 12-hour shift and he couldn’t be reached on his mobile phone.
Police Scotland’s Mountain Rescue Team found the grandfather alive but unresponsive five hours later in deep snow and nearly one mile from the cabin.
It is thought he left his shelter to try to reach a second site cabin in the hope it still had power so he could survive the night.
He was airlifted to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary but died later on the morning of January 22 – cause of death was confirmed as hypothermia.
His daughter, Laura Alexander said at the time: “The only saving grace is rescuers found our dad and the hospital kept him alive long enough so he wasn’t alone at the very end and we got to say goodbye.”
Companies admitted to health and safety breaches
Mr Alexander is survived by his wife, two daughters and three grandsons.
Glasgow-based employers CSM Facilities and wind farm bosses Farrans Construction, based in Belfast, were fined a total of £868,000 at Ayr Sheriff Court in November 2021.
The two firms admitted to health and safety breaches that contributed to the fatal accident.
The compensation now paid to the family following an employer’s liability legal action with Digby Brown Solicitors, which sought civil damages against the two firms.
Damian White, partner in Digby Brown’s Ayr office, said: “The heartbreak and trauma felt by the Alexander family is something very few could fully appreciate.
“Throughout the numerous investigations and processes that followed this tragic and avoidable incident they have continued to show and express dignity and strength.
“It should be a given that loved ones come home from their work which is why safety regulations exist – and that is why it is right the two companies were convicted and why it is right they recognise the loss felt by the Alexander family via civil damages.”