A Glasgow-based solar panel installation company has been fined £153,000 after a worker was seriously injured when he fell through a roof light at a private home.
The employee fractured his shin and a vertebra in the incident and was unable to work for nearly three years. He had fallen through a roof light on an out-building while he was installing replacement solar panels in place of the faulty ones the company had previously installed. The roof light that the 32 year old man fell through was on an outbuilding housing a swimming pool and while the water partially cushioned his fall, he also made a heavy impact with the side of the pool, which caused the injuries.
The company pleaded guilty to three health and safety offences in relation to the incident, including negligence with regard to training in the proper use of safety equipment. The HSE established that a scaffold tower, ladder and safety harness had been provided for the replacement of the faulty panels, but none of the installation team had sufficient training or instruction on how to use them safely. This effectively rendered the safety equipment useless and it was established that other measures should have been taken such as providing full scaffolding or arranging for hard covers for the roof lights.
After the hearing the HSE inspector said “The injured worker suffered serious injury in the fall and could have been killed. He 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. Working on or near fragile roof materials is not a task to be undertaken without proper planning, and without having the appropriate safety measures in place at all times. There is considerable free guidance available from the HSE regarding the precautions needed when working at height, including on or near fragile roof coverings.”
Providing appropriate equipment, supervision and training is the responsibility of any company when it comes to managing the health and safety of their workforce. If you have been injured in an accident at work and you feel it was down to a lack of proper planning, supervision, training or failing equipment, you should contact one of our solicitors today and find out if you are eligible to make a claim for compensation.