A 64-year-old Shropshire man has been sentenced to 12 months in prison after his company illegally supplied roofing panels containing asbestos.

The Company director’s offences came to light after a construction worker, who was roofing a barn using the panels, fell through the fragile material and later died.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the Director of the Shropshire company, had supplied pre-used roofing sheets containing white asbestos to a farming partnership building a barn in Worcestershire.

During a three-day hearing, Worcester Crown Court heard that after the company director supplied the roofing sheets, the partnership hired a steel erector to use the materials to build the barn.

But during the final phase of its construction the steel erector, fell through the fragile asbestos cement roof sheets, landing on the concrete floor more than six metres below. He later died of his injuries in hospital.

The farm partnership had agreed to pay £4,000 for what they thought would be substantial roofing material. However they were supplied with poor-quality, second-hand roof panels that had cost the company director nothing. As he had paid just £250 for transport, he stood to make a profit of £3,750 on the roof alone.

The court was told that after the fall, the company director tried to persuade witnesses to hide the sheets that he had supplied telling one, ‘We’ll all take the fall for this’. He also told the construction worker’s daughter that her father had fallen from the roof edge rather than through the fragile roof sheets and later tried to persuade the worker’s relatives not to report the incident to the HSE.

The Shropshire business man changed his plea to guilty on the first day day of his trial to one breach of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, and also to a contravention of The Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals (REACH) Regulations 2008. As well as the 12 month prison sentence he was disqualified from being a director for six years and ordered to pay £10,000 costs.