A ROOFING firm must pay more than £20,000 after a worker crashed through a school skylight and narrowly missed hitting students as he fell.
Chris Buck, of Brighouse, plummetted 8.5ft to the concrete floor below and suffered back and neck injuries.
The 24-year-old has been unable to return to work since the incident at Reddish Vale Technology College, Stockport, last June.
He was working for Ploughcroft Building Services, of Bullford Garage in Brighouse, when he tripped on some cables and fell.
A Health and Safety Executive prosecutor told Trafford Magistrates’ Court the firm had failed to provide a cover or barrier for the skylight, despite being told to do so by a consultant less than six weeks earlier.
The company, which admitted breaching working at height regulations, was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay £10,937 in costs.
Speaking after the hearing, Health and Safety Executive inspector Sandra Tomlinson said: “This incident could easily have resulted in one of Ploughcroft’s employees being paralysed or even killed.
“Despite surviving, the injuries he’s suffered mean he has lost the confidence to be able to return to work as a roofer.
“There were children walking under the skylight just minutes before he fell through it, so other individuals were also put at risk by Ploughcroft’s actions.”
Mr Buck said: “I had a very lucky escape and I don’t like to think about what might have happened. I could have quite easily have landed on my head or on children below which could have led to serious injuries.
“There is a very clear message that needs to go out to businesses that they cannot afford to ignore health and safety issues, or they will have serious consequences and impact on the reputation of businesses.
“Due to the accident I now have to consider other careers. My confidence to do this job again is not there any more and I feel I would be frightened and scared to get on a roof or even climb a ladder.”
Last year, more than 4,000 employees suffered a major injury as a result of a fall from height at work and 12 were killed.