Solar panel firm fined after worker fell through fragile roof

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A solar panel company has been fined after a worker fell through a skylight during the installation of solar panels on a farm workshop in East Sussex.

Brighton Magistrates Court heard how, on the 23 July 2018, an employee of SolarUK Limited was carrying out installation work on the fragile roof in Ninfield. As he stood to move, he stepped on the unprotected skylight and fell approximately four metres to the workshop floor below sustaining multiple and long-term injuries to his wrist.

Area where worker fell through roof
Area where worker fell through roof

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that, although the company knew the risks from fragile surfaces and unprotected edges, they 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 and was fined £40,000 and ordered pay costs of £2,000 in addition to a victim surcharge of £170.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Nicola Wellard said: “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.”