The recent prosecution of a company following a fall through a rooflight highlights the importance of ensuring workers are protected when installing solar panels on fragile roofs.
In the latest case the worker was installing solar panels on the roof of a barn when he stepped back onto a rooflight and fell over 3m to the floor below. The court was told that the company had no measures in place to prevent the risk of falling from the edge of the roof or falling through rooflights, exposing the employee to the risk of injury.
The company pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4 of the Work at Height Regulations 2005, and Section 33(1)(c) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and was fined £10,000.
Solar panel installation should only be carried out after careful planning so that the appropriate equipment can be used and by those who have received appropriate training. In this case the company should have ensured that workers were protected working close to fragile surfaces such as the rooflights.
It is estimated that on average 7 people are killed each year after falling through a fragile roof or fragile roof light and many others suffer permanent disabling injury. If work on a fragile surface cannot be avoided then simple steps such as using stagings or platforms fitted with edge protection to spread the load on the roof surface can protect workers and avoid unnecessary accidents such as this.
We are specialists in providing safe solutions for solar installers and can advise on the best form of protection such as our Solar Platform or Board Walk for fragile roofs so that you can ensure the work is carried out safely.