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SOLAR PANEL FIRM IGNORED CLIENT WARNINGS

Workman saved by animal waste after fragile roof fall

Solar Fit PV Ltd of York has been prosecuted after an employee fell 4m through the fragile roof of a pig shed on a Yorkshire farm in July 2012.

The workman was on ‘all fours’ cutting rails for the panels when he heard a crack and the roof gave way. He landed on soft layer of animal waste on the concrete below and luckily escape severe injury. The workman had been employed for two weeks and had no experience in solar panel installation.

York Magistrates’ Court was told that three days earlier the company had taken measurements and started the installation of 100 solar panels on the roofs of two large pig sheds.

On the morning of 23 July 2012 the farm owner warned Solar Fit’s director on site that the roofs were fragile and no work should take place without using crawling boards, which he made available.

HSE investigators found that Solar Fit took no action and carried on working unsafely on the roof. The director left the site and the injured workman was left to continue unsupervised.

No precautions were taken to prevent falls through the fragile roof and there was no edge protection along the ridge or to the left of the roof. A hand rail to the right of the roof was only partially effective.

Inexperienced lone worker told to “walk on the purlins”

Solar Fit PV Ltd, of Fox Oak Park, Common Road, Dunnington, York, was fined a total of £6,000 and ordered to pay £6,585 in costs after admitting two breaches of the Work at Height Regulations 2005.

After the hearing, HSE Inspector Andy Denison said:

“Solar Fit PV Ltd failed to assess the risks before this job started and therefore failed to plan it properly and ensure it was carried out safely. They then chose to ignore the farmer’s warnings and use the crawl boards he had left for their use.

The company left an inexperienced worker alone to work on the roof without suitable safety measures in place, having told him to walk on the purlins – which is extremely dangerous.

Falls through fragile roofs and rooflights account for some 22 per cent of falls from height in the construction industry – or seven deaths and around 300 major injuries a year.”

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One Response to “SOLAR PANEL FIRM IGNORED CLIENT WARNINGS”

  1. HSE ENFORCEMENT WEEKLY UPDATE 17th JULY 2013 | PP Construction Safety News Desk Says:

    […] SOLAR PANEL FIRM IGNORED CLIENT WARNINGS […]