Window cleaner has no memory of 40ft fall

Martin Greig  fell  from the fourth floor. Picture: Greg Macvean
Martin Greig fell from the fourth floor. Picture: Greg Macvean
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A WINDOW cleaner who plunged 40ft to the pavement at a city centre site after his safety ropes failed says he has no memory of the horrifying ordeal.

Martin Greig, 25, from ­Penicuik, had been cleaning the windows of the Semple Street Exchange 1 building at around 4pm last Friday when the ropes designed to secure him to the building gave way.

Martin Greig in hospital after his fall. Picture: contributed

Martin Greig in hospital after his fall. Picture: contributed

He incredibly survived the fall, but is still recovering in intensive care at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

Mr Greig has been told by doctors he was lucky to have escaped the fall with only two broken wrists, two badly sprained ankles and two broken bones in his lower back.

The worker, who lives with fiancée Wendy and seven-month-old daughter Millie, said: “Only time will tell if I’ll be able to go back to work. I’ve been told I’ve got months of physiotherapy ahead of me and even if I do get completely back to normal, this has really hit home. I have a daughter to think about.

“I don’t remember what happened and hearing about it was really shocking.

“The ropes we had had been in use for a long time and I think they were due to be replaced soon, but I had no reason to think they would fail.”

The Health and Safety Executive is investigating the ­incident.

Colleague Jack Robertson, 20, who had been working with Mr Greig at Perth-based subcontractor Smith Services Ltd for three months, said he was sure his friend had not survived the fall.

The Penicuik man said: “We were on our last drop of the day and we were sitting at the fourth floor when Martin’s main line suddenly snapped. He fell a few feet before the back-up caught him for a second, then it failed too.

“It was all over in a split second, but I remember he was falling so fast the water in his bucket was coming up out of the top. Then there was this awful thud as he hit the ground. It was horrible – nothing I would ever want to see again.”

Mr Robertson immediately pulled himself up one floor to the roof before racing down to his friend’s side.

“When I got to the bottom the security guard had already called an ambulance and they were there within minutes,” he said. “Martin wasn’t conscious. I was sure he was dead.

“When you work with ropes at height, you know it’s a risky job, but you never think ­something like this will happen.”

Mr Greig started his career nearly two years ago after his brother, Steve, recommended the trade to him. He had recently qualified as a level two rope access technician. Workers can earn as much as £70,000 a year in the trade.

Mother Aileen Greig, 57, who works as a lab technician, called for answers about the fall that nearly cost her son his life.

A spokesman for site manager Robertson Facilities Management said: “We are working with the relevant authorities to determine the exact cause of the incident as soon as we can. We are also providing full support to the subcontractor, his family and colleagues, and wish him a full and speedy recovery.”