22nd August 2019
Solar Panel Company Landed with £40K Fine After Fall From Height
A solar panel company has recently been fined £40,000 after an employee fell through a skylight during the installation of solar panels on a farm workshop in East Sussex.
An employee of SolarUK Limited was carrying out installation work on a fragile roof As he stood to move, he stepped on an unprotected skylight and fell approximately four metres to the workshop floor below sustaining multiple serious injuries.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) ensued after the incident which found that, although the company knew the risks from fragile surfaces and unprotected edges, they had failed to plan or supervise the work to ensure that access to hazardous areas was prevented. As such the workers were at risk from falls throughout the job.
The risks associated with fragile roofs are widely known throughout this industry. In fact the first corporate manslaughter case in the UK was for a very similar incident back in 2012! Simple safety measures could have prevented this incident including the use of crawling boards and protecting the vulnerable skylights prior to works commencing, or alternately providing the worker with suitable fall arrest equipment as a last resort.
SolarUK Limited attended court where they pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4(1) of The Work at Height Regulations 2005. The company was fined £40,000 and ordered pay costs of £2,000 in addition to a victim surcharge of £170.