A roofing firm has been handed a hefty fine after two workers suffered serious injuries following two separate incidents.

Mitie Tilley Roofing Limited have been fined a total of £881,000 after worker Billy Hewitt, 60, and another man suffered injuries while working for the roofing business, or on projects headed by the company.

Mr Hewitt, from Whickham, sustained a fractured pelvis, left wrist and eye socket after falling through the roof of a factory in Throckley, Newcastle on November 11 in 2019.

The Northern Echo:

The worker had been working to replace a skylight before falling and landing on a concrete floor seven metres below – leaving him hospitalised for three weeks.

Mr Hewitt said: “You don’t go to work in the morning and expect to end up in intensive care but that’s what happened to me.

“It’s been four years since my accident and I don’t really do anything with my days.

The Northern Echo:

“I really miss work. I was a roofer for 40 years but this accident changed everything because I still can’t work.

"I used to earn a good wage, but now I’m classed as 51% disabled and I rely entirely on benefits.”

The Northern Echo:

A 24-year-old labourer employed by RM Scaffolding broke his femur after falling through the roof of a building in Swansea while working a Mitie Tilley led project.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigated both incidents and prosecuted Mitie Tilley Roofing Limited. Paul Robinson, a business partner at RM Scaffolding, was also prosecuted by HSE following the incident in Swansea.

An HSE investigation found the firm ‘failed’ to properly plan and carry out the work to replace the skylight.

The Northern Echo:

A HSE spokesperson said: “The work at height had not been thoroughly assessed as a standalone piece of work.

“The investigation also found that safety nets were in place on other sections of the roof but not directly underneath the skylight where the accident happened.”

The HSE also found the firm ‘failed’ to plan, manage and monitor work by RM Scaffolding and prevent “unsafe work practices.”

The Northern Echo:

Following the incident which took place on November 11 2019, the London-based company was found guilty of breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and breaching Regulation 4(1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005, following a two-week trial at Newcastle Crown Court in April 2023.

It was fined £575,000 and ordered to pay £84,940.08 in costs.

Following the incident on June 3 2019, it plead guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.

The Northern Echo:

After a sentencing hearing at Newcastle Crown Court on December 6 that year, the firm was fined £306,000 and ordered to pay £27,410.63 in costs.

Paul Robinson, of Laburnam Way, Penarth, Vale of Glamorgan, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4(1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005.

He was sentenced to 120 hours of unpaid community service, to be served within 12 months on December 5 2019. He was also ordered to pay £20,428.73 in costs.

The Northern Echo:

Most read:

Start December with Your Community at Heart!  Grab our digital subscription for just £3 for 3 months and stay connected with local happenings. Click here.

The Northern Echo:

HSE principal inspector John Heslop said: “Too many workers are injured or die every year as a result of falling through fragile rooflights without adequate fall prevention or protection measures in place.

“These were both shocking incidents, which had a lasting impact on those who were injured.

“The law is clear about the measures needed to ensure safety when working on fragile roofs and there is a wide range of guidance available from HSE and the Construction industry on correct ways of working. HSE will not hesitate to take action against employers who do not do all that they should to keep people safe.”