The employer of a roofer who fell more than 2.5 metres from a school roof has been fined £10,000 and ordered to pay costs.

Chris Buck, 24, from Brighouse, West Yorkshire, injured his back and neck when he fell through a fragile skylight after tripping on some cables. Mr Buck, who has not been able to return to work, was working for Ploughcroft Building Services. The roofing firm was carrying out the work at Reddish Vale Technology College.

Only six weeks prior the company had received a report from a health and safety consultant which highlighted the danger of the skylight, however an adequate cover or barrier was not in place at the time of the accident. They admitted breaching Regulation 9 (2) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 at the hearing on 22 July 2011.

Risks of working at height are so great

HSE Inspector Sandra Tomlinson commented: "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."

Solicitor Phil Kyte who is an expert in workplace accident compensation claims said: “It is appalling that employers feel able to ignore specific recommendations aimed at ensuring the safety of their employees. Employers must take a more responsible attitude, especially when the risks of working at height are so great.”