A construction firm has been fined by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after two workers narrowly escaped serious injuries after falling from a school roof.

The two men working for Cruden Construction had been investigating a leak on a flat roof at Barlow Moor High School in Didsbury. One of the workers leant on a wooden handrail which collapsed under his weight. As his colleague tried to grab hold of him both men plummeted to a scaffolding platform below with protruding metal poles.

The two men sustained only minor injuries including a fracture and bruising, but Trafford Magistrates Court were told that the men were lucky not to have been impaled on the protruding metal poles.

Cruden Construction Ltd was prosecuted by the HSE for failing to ensure the handrail was a sufficient strength for the work being undertaken. The firm pleaded guilty to breaching the Work at Height Regulations in 2005 and was fined £6,500 and £2,530 in costs.

HSE inspector Laura Moran said: “The wooden handrail that Cruden Construction provided wasn’t up to the job and their safety was compromised as a result.”

Imogen Wetton, a solicitor at Thompsons Solicitors’ Serious Injuries Team said: "The two men were very lucky, they could easily have been seriously injured or killed as a result of their employer's failures. Working at height is known to be hazardous and it's vital that employers identify potential dangers to prevent what are almost always avoidable accidents.”