Two men handed suspended sentences after worker’s fatal fall

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Two men have received suspended sentences and fines after a worker fell over five metres through fragile roof panels and died.

Newcastle Crown Court heard how, on 16 November 2015, the worker was carrying out overcladding work. This involved the installation of new roofing material over an existing fragile asbestos cement roof. It took place 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. It found that there were inadequate precautions to prevent or mitigate against falls from or through the roof. There was also a failure to produce 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. He 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. He received a 14-month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months, with £1,800 costs.

HSE inspector Andrea Robbins, said: “In this case there was a significant failure to plan and manage the overcladding 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.”

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