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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 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.
The HSE’s investigation 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 with costs of £2,000, plus 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.”
Watch: Highest fines and prosecutions in July 2019…
Barbour download: Guide to working at height
Work at any height can cause injury; a fall from a height of just one or two steps can cause serious injury.
The Regulations were amended in 2007 to extend their application to those who work at height providing instruction or leadership to one or more people engaged in caving or climbing by way of sport, recreation, team building or similar activities in Great Britain.
Download your free guide from Barbour to understand: Duties of persons in control of work at height; Duties of persons undertaking work at height; General controls when working at height; Method statement for work at height; Selection of a means of access; Working platforms; Guardrails and toeboards; Ladders Mobile work platforms; Suspended access equipment; Personal suspension equipment and, Inspection of fall arrest equipment.