Two men sentenced after worker suffers fatal injuries after falling through fragile roof

Two men have received suspended sentences after a worker fell over five metres through fragile roof panels suffering injuries that subsequently proved fatal.

Newcastle Crown Court heard how that on 16 November 2015, the worker was carrying out over-cladding work, involving the installation of new roofing material over an existing fragile asbestos cement roof, at an industrial building on West Chirton (South) Industrial Estate, North Shields, Tyne and Wear.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the method of work was unsafe and there were inadequate precautions to prevent or mitigate against falls from or through the roof as well as an effective assessment of risk, selection and use of appropriate work equipment, safe system of work and effective supervision.

Ian Blacklin of Capheaton, Newcastle upon Tyne, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 3(2) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, Section 3(2) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and Regulation 8(2) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regs 2015 and was sentenced to 16 months imprisonment, suspended for 18 months.

Dennis Spence of Denton, Newcastle upon Tyne, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 3(1) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, Regulation 4(1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and Regulation 6(1) of the work at Height Regulations 2005 and was sentenced to 14 months imprisonment, suspended for 18 months with £1,800 costs.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Andrea Robbins, said: “In this case there was a significant failure to plan and manage the over-cladding of roofs over fragile roofing material.

“Roof work should only be undertaken by people who have the necessary skills knowledge and experience, assessing the associated risks, selecting and using appropriate equipment to prevent/mitigate falls and ensure effective supervision is in place.”

Notes to editors:

  1. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. It aims to reduce work-related death, injury and ill health. It does so through research, information and advice, promoting training; new or revised regulations and codes of practice, and working with local authority partners by inspection, investigation and enforcement. www.hse.gov.uk
  2. More about the legislation referred to in this case can be found at: hsg33.pdf (hse.gov.uk)
  3. HSE news releases are available at http://press.hse.gov.uk