Worker’s fall costs solar firm £12,585

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A FIRM that fits solar panels has been fined £6,000 after a worker fell 13ft through a fragile roof, fracturing his elbow.

The worker, who had only been in the job two weeks, was on all fours installing the panels at Rotsea Carr Farm in Cranswick, East Yorkshire, when he suddenly heard a crack and the roof gave way.

He landed on his hands and knees in pig muck, narrowly escaping serious injury.

The unnamed new worker had no experience installing panels.

York Magistrates heard that the farm owner warned the director of the firm, York-based Solar Fit PV Ltd, that the roofs were fragile and that no work should be done without using crawl boards, which he made available.

But his advice was ignored and the director and the worker carried on. The director then left instructing the worker to continue various jobs when the roof collapsed.

The worker suffered a radial fracture to his left elbow and bruising. He has since recovered and found work elsewhere.

HSE found no precautions had been taken to prevent falls through the roof and there was no edge protection. A hand rail to the right of the roof only extended part way.

Solar Fit was fined £6,000 and ordered to pay costs of £6,585 after admitting two breaches of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 in the incident last July.

HSE Inspector Andy Denison said: “Solar Fit PV Ltd failed to assess the risks before this job started and therefore failed to plan it properly and ensure it was carried out safely. They then chose to ignore the farmer’s warnings and not use the crawlboards he had left for their use. The company left an inexperienced worker alone to work on the roof without suitable safety measures in place, having told him to walk on the purlins [horizontal beams] – which is extremely dangerous.”

Falls through fragile roofs and rooflights account for seven deaths and around 300 major injuries a year.