Felt roll injury duo avoid prison

TWO roofers have been handed suspended prison sentences after seriously injuring an office worker from Allestree.

Jason Lunt and Gregory Wright, both aged 41, from Walsall, were re-felting the flat roof of Jubilee House, on Nottingham Road, Ripley, on September 22 last year, when a 37kg roll of felt was allowed to crash through a skylight.

It fell 14ft on to office worker Kathleen Phillipson, of Allestree, who was taken to hospital with injuries to her head and shoulder.

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found Walsall-based contractor Lunt allowed the work to start without conducting a proper risk assessment or protecting the roof skylights with boarding.

It meant when Wright, a self-employed roofer contracted by Mr Lunt, moved one of six rolls of roof felt stood upright on the roof, another one toppled over and fell through an unguarded skylight.

Prosecuting for the HSE, Lee Greatorex said: “Office workers heard a rumble that sounded like a train coming.

“It came through the office like a missile. She feels extremely fortunate to be alive.”

Speaking after the hearing, Mr Greatorex said that out of 22 roof lights, only one had been covered up by the contractors.

Mrs Phillipson, who was unaware work was being carried out on the roof, was forced to take two weeks off work after the incident.

Defending Lunt and Wright, solicitor David Cusack said the pair have ‘not sought to avoid responsibility’ and were aware that there was a ‘price to pay’ for their actions’.

He added that Wright said sorry to Mrs Phillipson immediately after the incident and has since sent her a letter of apology.

Lunt, of Valley Road, Bloxwich had already pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, and Gregory Wright, of Tewkesbury Road, Bloxwich, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(2) of the same act.

They were given an 18-week prison sentence, suspended for one year, and were ordered to carry out 280 hours of work in the community.

They were also ordered to pay £2,114 each towards prosecution costs.

District Judge Joanne Alderson in her summing up said: “You made no effort to cover up the skylights.

“This was not an obscure risk, nor one requiring expert knowledge. This risk was so obvious, the man in the street could have spotted it.”