No jail time after worker plunges through roof and dies from injuries in North Shields

Two men have avoided jail after a worker died from their injuries after falling through fragile roof panels.

The worker was carrying out over-cladding work, which 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, on November 16th 2015.

A worker died from injuries that occurred as he fell five metres through a fragile roof panel. He sustained internal and external injuries, which made his death more likely than not. The HSE investigated the incident and determined that there were inadequate precautions to prevent or mitigate against falls from or through the roof, including the use of such equipment as scaffolding and personal protective equipment. There was also an ineffective assessment of risk, an inappropriate selection of work tools and an ineffective supervision system in place.

The pair of Ian Blacklin, 60, and Dennis Spence appeared at Newcastle Crown Court after they pled guilty to contravening health and safety regulations. The court heard that the construction site was a failure in terms of planning and management. The HSE has not released the name of the worker who died.

John Blacklin, of Wellington Square, Capheaton, Newcastle, has been sentenced to 16 months suspended for 18 months after pleading guilty to breaching regulations 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) Regulations 2015.

Spence of Henshaw Place, Denton, Newcastle, 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 was sentenced to prison for 14 months and was suspended for 18 months with a court order to pay £1,800 in costs.

Following a recent hearing, HSE inspector Andrea Robbins announced that: “In this particular case there was a significant failure to plan and manage the over-cladding of roofs over fragile roofing material. This work should only be undertaken by people with the necessary skills, knowledge and experience assessing the associated risks and selecting and using appropriate equipment to avoid falls.”