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Safety Failure Results In Solar Panel Firm Being Fined £12,000

Grenergy Solar Ltd from Rugby in Warwickshire that installs solar panels has been fined £12,000 for failings in safety procedures following a worker falling through a skylight whilst helping install solar panels and suffering serious injuries.

Great care from a health and safety perspective needs to be taken when installing solar panels
(image credit: Serendigity)

Brian Dolan, who is 58 years of age, and lives in Warwick, unfortunately broke three ribs, broke five vertebrae, received two fractures to his skull and suffered problems with his hearing as a result of the accident that took place at the beginning of March 2012 in Islington, North London. Mr Dolan had to spend two weeks in hospital and could not work for seven months.

Mr Dolan who is a self-employed labourer was assisting in the installation of 342 solar panels that were being fitted to the roofs of two industrial buildings. During the second day of working on the project he fell just under five metres onto the floor of one of the buildings that was made of concrete. Despite his fall being partly broken due to a flour pallet he still suffered very serious injuries as detailed above.

Nobody is certain how he fell although a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) enquiry following the accident was able to establish that nothing had been put in situ to stop or mitigate someone suffering a fall. For instance, there was no safety netting below the skylights at the industrial units.

Westminster Magistrates’ Court were informed on 29th May 2013 that no proper assessment of the work or suitable safety measures had been carried out which, if there had of been, the accident may have not happened.

Grenergy Solar Ltd pleaded guilty to two different breaches of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and was fined £12,000 plus they had to pay costs of £9,041.

Paul Hems who is an HSE Inspector said following the hearing: “You would expect a company like Grenergy Solar Ltd that specialises in roof installations to be fully aware of the risks posed by working at height on, with or near fragile surfaces, and to take the appropriate safety precautions.

“Yet that clearly didn’t happen here and Mr Dolan could easily have paid with his life as a result. The District Judge commented, in relation to the system of work proposed but never actually implemented by the company, that it was a ‘defective process and implementation of it was defective’.

“Mr Dolan suffered terrible injury in a wholly preventable yet depressingly frequent incident, and it is imperative that effective measures are put in place at all times to prevent or mitigate falls.”

Let us hope that we do not hear of any other similar incidents in the future.

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