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Solar panel firm fined for worker fall

Posted in: Employer Negligence Workplace Injuries 

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

The employee stepped through a roof light and fell three more than metres before landing on a raised platform. This broke his fall and he managed to escape uninjured.

The company was installing 68 solar panels on the flat roof of the building over three days. An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) established 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.

The court heard that the company was served with a Prohibition Notice by HSE in March 2006 relating to unsafe ladder work. So the company, which also does cavity wall insulation, was fully aware of the need to carefully control and manage all work at height.

The 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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