Solar panel firm fined for worker fall

A company specialising in the installation of solar panels has been fined for safety failings after a worker fell from a roof in Hampshire after stepping through a rooflight.

He fell three more than metres into the centre in the incident before landing on a raised platform. This broke his fall and he managed to escape uninjured.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) fond that a scissor lift had been provided for employees to access the roof, as were safety harnesses and training. However, the harnesses could only be used in the lift because there were no attachment points on the roof itself.

HSE also found that no protection had been provided for either the edge of the roof or the two rooflights that were present.

Magistrates were told the company had decided it was sufficient to merely warn employees about the potential fall risks rather than install any safety measures that may have damaged the roof fabric. Scaffolding was also ruled out as a very last resort.

“Work at height is inherently fraught with risk, and falls remain the single biggest cause of deaths and serious injury in the construction industry,” said HSE inspector Adam Wytcherley. “Roof work must be properly planned and appropriate safety equipment provided.”

The solar panel company was fined a total of £13,000 and ordered to pay £2,477 in costs after pleading guilty to two separate breaches of the Work at Height Regulations 2005.

The latest HSE statistics show that 40 workers were killed and more than 3,400 were seriously injured in falls from height in 2011/12.

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