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Solar Panel Firm Fine Highlights Need for Safety Training

Glasgow-based PV Solar UK Ltd was sentenced at Canterbury Crown Court this week after an investigation by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) found that more could and should have been done to prevent the fall of a 32-year-old man who crashed through a roof light of an outbuilding housing a swimming pool in April 2013.

The court decision was reported in The Construction Index, one of the premier sources of online construction industry news.

The article reports that, although the water partially cushioned his fall, the worker had suffered a heavy impact fall against the side around the pool, and was unable to return to work for nearly three years (and only then on a part-time basis) as a result of a fractured vertebra and shin.

The court had heard in a hearing in January 2016, when the company pleaded guilty to three health and safety offences, that the injured worker was part of a three-man team working on the pool building to replace faulty solar panels that were initially installed by the same company in April 2011. The fragile roof also contained eight roof lights and he fell through one of these as he walked on the roof while carrying a panel.

HSE findings highlights need for safety training

HSE established that a scaffold tower, ladder and safety harness had been provided for the panel replacement work. However, none of the installation team had received any formal training or instruction on how to use them. This effectively rendered the equipment useless. Other measures could also have been taken, such as providing full scaffolding or hard covers for the rooflights.

HSE established that although the initial installation work in 2011 was completed without incident, the safety equipment provided on that occasion was also lacking, which again had placed workers at risk.

HSE Inspector Melvyn Stancliffe said after the hearing: “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 a fragile roof or 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.”

Choose Mr Plant Hire for safety compliance assurance

This case highlights the need for all construction and other contractors to ensure they have adequate provisions in place to prevent or mitigate falls whilst working at height – across training and plant hire specifications.

The long-established, Enfield-based Mr Plant Hire offers top quality plant hire for working at heights across the London area combined with an excellent level of service and an unequivocal commitment to safety as a top priority and it also offers a wide range of IPAF Training and PASMA Training across London and the Home Counties.

Members of the team are available to visit Mr Plant Hire customers either at their offices or on site upon request, thus providing a personal service with the confidence of getting things right first time.

Contact the Mr Plant Hire team now for safety advice or information on IPAF and PASMA training courses in your area.

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