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THREE FIRMS FAILED TO PREVENT FATAL FALL

Health and Safety Plan and implementation fell short of the mark

A renewable technology Principal Contractor and two contractors have been prosecuted after 35 year-old workman, Kevin Brookes, died when he fell 7m from a roof whilst installing solar panels on an Industrial Estate in Southam on 31 May 2012.

Principal contractor Alumet Renewable Technologies Ltd was prosecuted (6 Feb) with contractors Midlands Solar Solutions Ltd, who employed Mr Brookes to install the panels, and Rugby Scaffolding Services Ltd, responsible for installing edge protection.

Coventry Crown Court heard that Mr Brookes was retrieving a drill which was sliding towards the edge of the roof when he slipped and slid through the handrail, over the edge of the building, landing on his head.

Mr Brookes, who was the sole carer for his elderly disabled father, fell into an immediate coma and died 19 days later in hospital.

The HSE investigation found:

  • Health and Safety Plan – PC failed to put adequate H&S Plan in place;
  • Assessment – the measures outlined in their plan were insufficient to protect the workers;
  • Implementation – measures were not being followed by all companies involved in the work; and
  • Edge protection – did not meet nationally agreed standards.

It also revealed that employees of Rugby Scaffolding Services Ltd were not properly trained to install the protection and were not appropriately supervised.

Firms failed despite “copious experience”

The HSE investigation revealed that suitable provisions were not in place to prevent people falling through the skylights.

  • Alumet Renewable Energy Technologies Ltd, of Southam, was £66,000 and ordered to pay £12,491 in costs after admitting breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.
  • Rugby Scaffolding Services Limited, of Rugby, Warwickshire, admitted the same charge and was fined £60,000 and ordered to pay costs of £12,491.
  • Midlands Solar Solutions Ltd, of Sutton Coldfield, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the same Act and was fined £50,000 and ordered to pay £12,491 in costs.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Amy Kalay, said:

“This fatal fall was entirely and easily preventable.  The health and safety plan and mechanisms put in place to carry out the work fell far below the required standards.

All three companies had copious experience of working at height to install solar panels and as such should have been experts.

Alumet Renewable Technologies Ltd knew that the work was a high-risk activity, and the company should have known what measures to put in place to keep workers safe and making sure these precautions were followed by everyone involved.”

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