Leeds Magistrates’ Court heard how, on 13 April 2016, the two workers were investigating a leak from the roof at the firm’s Malton site which the workers did not realise contained several roof lights.
The workers were walking closely together and both stood on the same roof light which consequently fell through due to the weight.
One worker suffered four fractured ribs, a punctured lung, and muscular contusions to his outer right thigh.
The other suffered a fractured skull, muscular injuries to his right leg and injuries inside his ear which cause ongoing problems with his balance, memory and mental health.
An HSE investigation found the roof was made of asbestos cement and had several roof lights situated along it but they were not visible due to the build-up of moss and dirt which had accumulated over the years. Employees had also not been made aware of them.
Karro Foods Ltd of Malton, Yorkshire pleaded guilty to safety breaches and was fined £1,866,000 and ordered to pay £8,019 in costs.
After the hearing, HSE inspector Mark Slater commented: “This was a wholly avoidable incident, caused by the failure of the company to provide adequate controls against the risks arising from working at height.
“Consideration of roof fragility and rooflights, visible or not, should be made, especially on older buildings.”
A Karro Food Limited spokesperson said: “Karro Food Limited accepts the fine imposed by the court following the Health and Safety Executive’s investigation and the company’s early guilty plea in this case.
“Although the company is disappointed with the fine being set at the upper level of high culpability, given its previous positive record, good character, compliance with the HSE during the investigation and prompt action taken to make improvements to our existing systems and facilities following the incident, we are grateful to the court for recognising these factors in its judgement.
“As a responsible local employer Karro Food Limited has, and continues to, support the two valued members of staff injured in this incident.”