Expert View, Working At Height
On 7 November 2011 at Derby Magistrates Court, two roofers were imprisoned for 18 weeks each, after a roll of roofing felt fell through an office roof on which they were working, hitting a woman who was sitting at her desk. The sentences were suspended for one year on condition the roofers each completed 280 hours of community service.
The incident occurred on 22 September 2010 during repair work to the flat roof of a three-storey office block. The office block owner had contracted Jason Lunt, a builder/roofer, to carry out the repairs. Lunt then sub-contracted part of the work to Gregory Wright, a self-employed roofer.
The metre-long rolls of felt each weighed 37kg and were positioned on the roof in groups of three as an “N” shape. As Wright moved one of the rolls, a second roll toppled over and fell through an unguarded roof light and a suspended ceiling. It hit Kathleen Philipson’s shoulder, causing injuries that resulted in a fortnight’s sick leave. Wright had covered or protected only one of the 22 sets of roof lights to prevent falls of people or materials through them during the re-felting. Lunt had permitted the re-felting to start without an adequate system of work and protection for the roof light.
Jason Lunt admitted that, as an employer, he exposed persons other than his employees to risks from his undertaking (s.3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974), and Gregory Wright admitted that, as a self-employed person, he exposed himself and other persons to risks from his undertaking (s.3(2 of the same Act).