Roofing boss jailed for four months after worker fractures skull

A roofing company boss has been jailed for four months after a worker was seriously injured falling through a fragile roof on to a concrete floor.

The man and another labourer, who were working for Geoff Whitehouse, trading as Midland Roofing, were working on a fragile roof on 11 August 2021 to remove old skylights at premises in Henley Road, Warwick.

The injured worker fell approximately three metres through the roof and suffered serious multiple fractures including a fractured skull.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the majority of the work could have been done from underneath the roof.  The inside of the roof could have been fitted with nets prior to anyone going on to the fragile surface so that someone falling would have been saved by the nets. The work at height was not adequately planned, managed nor supervised. 

Additionally, Mr Whitehouse did not have employers’ liability insurance in place. Employers’ liability insurance ensures employers have at least the minimum level of insurance to cover against claims brought by employees that are injured at work or become ill as a result of work.

Geoff Whitehouse, trading as Midland Roofing, of White Ladies Close, Worcester pleaded guilty to breaches under Section 1(1) of the Employers Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act 1969 and Regulation 4(1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 (as amended) at Coventry Magistrates’ Court.  He was sentenced to four months in prison at Redditch Magistrates’ Court.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Michael Griffiths, said: “Fragile roofs can and do kill. It does not matter how careful you are standing, sitting or walking on a fragile roof, the roof can collapse as it did in this case, causing potentially life-changing injuries.

“This case also highlights the need for ELCI insurance in this sort of work where self-employed labourers under the control of a sole trader are ‘employees’ under Health and Safety Law.”

Notes to Editors:

  1. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. We prevent work-related death, injury and ill health through regulatory actions that range from influencing behaviours across whole industry sectors through to targeted interventions on individual businesses. These activities are supported by globally recognised scientific expertise.
  2. More about the legislation referred to in this case can be found at:
  3. HSE news releases are available at
  4. Further information about working on fragile roofs can be found at: Fragile roofs: Safe working practices GEIS5 (