After the death of an employee, Preston-based Eco Generation has been fined £45,000.

The company, which installs solar panels, was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) for the events that led to the death of 34 year old Gregorz Sobko at Tower View Farm in Hutton on 15 November 2011.

Sobko fell through the roof of a cowshed when one of the panels designed to let light in fell through. He then fell five metres to the concrete floor and died ten days later in the hospital.

The HSE established that Eco Generation had been negligent in providing proper safety measures for their employees. The employees, who had been fitting solar panels to the roof, were only given two youngmans, or wooden planks, each to stand on while they worked. The roof was covered in fragile plastic panels, much like the one that gave way under Gregorz Sobko.

According to the HSE, there were many ways that Eco Generation could have better protected their employees, including having netting under the panels or putting up barriers. In fact, they had netting under some panels, but not the one Gregorz Sobko fell through.

Chris Smith, an HSE inspector, stated at the hearing: “The risk of people falling through fragile roofs is well known, and the fact that Eco Generation installed netting under a small part of the roof shows the company was aware of the dangers. However, this didn’t even come close to what was needed to protect the workers.”

Eco Generation pled guilty to two breaches of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and was fined £45,000 in addition to being asked to pay £20,515 in prosecution costs.