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Solar panel fitters not protected from falls

9 Aug 19 A company whose whole business is working on roofs, fitting solar panels, has been fined £40,000 for failing to keep its workers safe at height.

The solar panel fitter fell through an unprotected skylight
The solar panel fitter fell through an unprotected skylight

Brighton Magistrates Court heard how, on 23rd July 2018, an employee of SolarUK Limited was carrying out installation work on a fragile roof of a farm building in Ninfield, East Sussex.

As he stood to move, he stepped on an unprotected skylight and fell four metres to the workshop floor below, sustaining multiple and long-term injuries to his wrist.

An investigation by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) found that, although the company knew the risks from fragile surfaces and unprotected edges, it  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.

SolarUK Limited of Vantage Point, Battle, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4(1) of The Work at Height Regulations 2005. It was fined £40,000 and ordered pay costs of £2,000 in addition to a victim surcharge of £170.

HSE inspector Nicola Wellard said after the hearing: “The risks associated with fragile roofs are widely known throughout this industry. Failing to protect workers from this risk is inexcusable. Simple safety measures could have prevented this incident and the long-term injuries to the worker.”

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