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Northumberland firm and two directors fined after death of worker

A Northumberland firm and two of its directors have been sentenced for safety failings after a teenage worker died following a fall from a barn roof.

Jamie Lee Duddin, 18, of Corbridge, and another Scotts of Whittington Ltd. employee were carrying out repairs to the roof lights of the barn at Heddon Low Farm, Heddon on the Wall, Northumberland, when the incident occurred on 23 July 2010.

Newcastle Crown Court heard during a two and a half week trial (from 23 April - 9 May) that the teenager was rushed to hospital but died two days later.

Mr. Duddin was standing on a roof panel made of fibre cement board when it collapsed. He fell through the roof landing on a concrete floor six metres (20 feet) below.

A joint investigation by Northumbria Police and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the work had not been properly planned. It also identified that inadequate equipment had been provided and that the workers were not properly trained or supervised.

On 13 July, Scotts of Whittington Ltd. was fined £65,000 after pleading guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 for safety failings.

Company director Alfred Wood, 65, of Cherry Tree Cottage, Great Whittington and his son, Christopher Wood, 41, of Tulip Cottage, Great Whittington, a fellow director of the company, also pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) by virtue of Section 37 of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. They were fined £13,000 and £2,000 respectively. In addition the defendants were ordered to pay combined court costs of £19,000.


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