A West Yorkshire green energy firm and a solar installer have been prosecuted for safety breaches after a labourer was severely injured when he fell almost seven metres from a barn roof.
The incident on 27 June 2013 was investigated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which identified serious safety failings by Mr Peter King, trading as Kingson Roofing, Building and Construction, of Wesley Street, Ossett, Wakefield; and Investment Renewables, of Wakefield Road, Grange Moor, Wakefield.
Kirklees Magistrates heard that Mr King was subcontracted by Investment Renewables to install 56 solar panels on a barn roof.
He was one of three men working on the installation, although only one had experience. A four-lift tower scaffold was used by the workers to reach the sheet metal pitched roof.
Thirteen of the solar panels had been installed when it started to rain. The 27-year-old labourer lost his footing on the wet surface shortly after and slid over the edge as there were no safety measures in place to prevent or mitigate falls.
The HSE found Investment Renewables had not adequately assessed the risks arising from the roof installation and had also failed to ensure subcontractor Mr King had done so.
As a result, no safe system was in place for the work itself and neither of the defendants had provided or arranged for edge protection to be installed to guard against falls.
In addition, Investment Renewables had not supervised the work to ensure its subcontractor was operating safely.
Investment Renewables was fined £14,000 and ordered to pay £404 in costs after admitting breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.
Peter King, Kingson Roofing, Building and Construction, was fined £10,000 and also required to pay £404 in costs for a breach of the same Act.
After the hearing, HSE inspector Andy Denison said: “This worker’s fall and his subsequent painful injuries could easily have been prevented had basic safety precautions been put in place. Each party failed in its responsibilities to protect the workers from danger by assessing risks and providing a safe system of work.
“Mr King had obviously not planned the job thoroughly – he had only looked at a photo of the building and not even visited the site. Investment Renewables also failed to make sure the work was safely planned and did not supervise it.
“Despite clear guidance from HSE and the solar panel industry, companies continue to work on roofs without suitable precautions, posing an entirely unacceptable risk of serious injury, or even death, to employees.”