PV Solar, a photovoltaic panel installer from Glasgow, must pay more than £180,000 in fines and costs after one of its employees was injured when he fell through a roof light.
The roof light was over a swimming pool outbuilding at a private home in Kent. The injured worker was part of a three strong team replacing faulty solar panels that had been installed by PV Solar in April 2011. One of the workers was carrying a panel along the roof and fell through one of the eight roof lights. The water in the swimming pool partly broke his fall but he hit the pool’s side and fractured his shin and spine.
The accident happened on 30 April 2013, but the 32 year old was unable to return to work until January this year and this was then only on a part time basis.
PV Solar was sentenced at Canterbury Crown Court after a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation, which found none of the installation team had been trained to use the scaffold tower, ladder and safety harness that was supplied for the panel replacement work. The company could also have provided other equipment such as fall scaffolding or hard covers for the roof light.
The HSE had previously served PV Solar with a prohibition notice to stop unsafe work on a fragile roof in Bristol in May 2011. The executive said that the company therefore knew what was required to ensure that an accident like this would not happen.
The company pleaded guilty to three separate breaches of the Work at Height Regulations 2005. It was fined £153,000 and ordered to pay £29,480 in prosecution costs.
The injured worker and his colleagues were effectively left to their own devices with equipment that was not wholly suited for the task at hand.
Never leave it to chance and assume that people will know how to use equipment even if they say they have done similar work before, always ensure that they have been trained in all aspects of the job to be carried out.
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