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Engineer falls through skylight

23 March 2011 Email this article

An engineering manager was seriously injured after plunging through a factory skylight at a Milton Keynes plastics manufacturer, a court heard.

Barry Brice, 44, of Wavendon Gate was measuring a damaged skylight at Alpla UK Ltd's premises in Lasborough Road, Kingston, Buckinghamshire when it gave way and he fell seven and a half metres onto the floor of the tool room below.

The incident happened on 16 November 2009 when Mr Brice climbed onto the roof alone to take measurements of the skylight, which had been damaged in an earlier incident.

As he leaned forward onto the skylight it shattered and Mr Brice fell through the panel almost 25 feet to the floor below. He suffered a fractured wrist and finger, broken ribs, cuts and bruising and was off work for nine weeks.

Alpla Ltd, of Bridge Street, Golborne, Warrington pleaded guilty to regulation 4(1) and 9(1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 at Milton Keynes Magistrates' Court.

The company was fined £3,200 and ordered to pay £4,145 in costs in the case brought by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

HSE Inspector, Karl Howes, said:

"Mr Brice was incredibly lucky he was able to walk away from this when so often, falls from this sort of height are fatal.

"This incident was entirely preventable and demonstrates what little control there was at the Alpla site. Mr Brice should never have been allowed alone to venture onto the roof.

"Falls through roofs during maintenance tasks are a well-known risk. This case highlights the need for employers to consider the risks associated with this practice and have proper systems in place to control them."

Last year more than 4,000 workers suffered major injuries as the result of falls from height and 15 lost their lives. Information on preventing injuries is available at www.hse.gov.uk/falls.