Solar panel installer fined for work at height violations
Thursday 24th March 2016
From the archive: Just so you know, this article is more than 3 years old.
The roof light was on a swimming pool outbuilding at a private home in Kent. The injured worker was part of a three man team replacing faulty solar panels that were installed by PV Solar in April 2011. He 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 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 then on a part-time basis only.
PV Solar was sentenced at Canterbury Crown Court following a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation, which found none of the installation team had been trained on how 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 full scaffolding or hard covers for the roof lights.
The HSE served PV Solar with a prohibition notice to stop unsafe work on a fragile roof in Bristol in May 2011. The executive said the company therefore knew what was required to prevent falls during work at height.
The company pleaded guilty the three separate breaches of the Work at Height Regulations 2005. It was fined £153,000 and ordered to pay a further £29,480 in prosecution costs.
"He [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. In short, better equipment, training and supervision should have been provided," said HSE inspector Melvyn Stancliffe after the hearing.
The Clean Earth Energy worker was installing solar panels at Homeleigh Garden Centre. As he moved along the roof, the cement fibre sheeting he was walking on collapsed. He fell approximately 15ft and fractured several vertebrae.The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) launched an investigation into the 15 August 2015 incident and found the work was not properly planned or appropriately supervised.
Builder C Smith and Sons had been contracted to demolish the structure, which had housed Harvey’s and Carpetright retail stores. The building was due to be demolished remotely with construction plant as this posed the least risk to workers. However, between winning the contract and work starting onsite, the company’s owner Michael Smith decided the structure should be dismantled piece by piece instead.
The collapse happened in 2006 at a Barratt Homes development in Battersea. Crane driver Jonathan Cloke was in the cab as the jib fell 50 m on to Michael Alexa, a member of the public who was washing his car in a street beside the site. Both men died.Southwark Crown Court was told sections of the tower crane separated when 24 bolts failed due to metal fatigue.
The 36-year-old David Ashley Construction employee, originally from Romania, was working in a building under construction at De Montfort University. He was dismantling falsework when the accident happened on 15 June 2015. The Health and Safety Executive launched an investigation and found there was an unsafe system of work and inadequate supervision.
One person was killed and five were injured when part of boiler house at the former Didcot A power station in Oxfordshire collapsed on 23 February. Three men are still missing. The joint statement said: “The site owners RWE have overall responsibilities for the safety of buildings and structure on their site. They must produce a plan for a safe method of working before the next stage of the recovery can begin. Once this is received and approved by HSE, emergency services are on hand to recover the missing men.
A worker sustained multiple fractures to his right foot, a fracture of his left ankle and significant tissue damage to both feet while replacing a window on 8 September 2014, Leeds Magsitrates’ Court heard.Stuart Tombs was the site manager via his own company SJT Site Management, contracted by Longcross Construction, the principal contractor for the window replacement work.Fewell Engineering Limited was subcontracted by Longcross Construction Limited, and it was a Fewell employee who was injured while pushing a trolley with a new window on it.