Two firms have been fined for safety breaches after a solar installer fell from a roof through a scaffold, landing five metres below and sustaining life changing injuries.
Leeds Magistrates’ Court heard how in December 2015 Jhanade Ryan, a sub-contractor working for contractor Centreco (UK), was installing solar panels to the roof of Firth Steels, Brighouse.
He slipped on the roof and slide down to the edge protection, which snapped and led to the fall. Ryan landed on the flat roof of a sub-station below, sustaining a fracture to his spine, a broken coccyx and nerve damage.
He was in hospital for almost three months and is now unable to work due to ongoing mobility issues.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the scaffolding company, Oswestry Shropshire Scaffold, had not erected the scaffold to a known industry standard or design.
It was also found that Centreco had failed to take effective measures to prevent workers falling through fragile roof lights which were found to be present during the investigation.
“Falls from height often result in life changing or fatal injuries. In most cases these accidents are needless and could be prevented by properly planning to ensure that effective preventative and protective measures are in place such as edge protection or barriers built to the correct standard,” said HSE inspector Jayne Towey.
Centreco (UK) Ltd of Hearle House, Chorley, Lancashire pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and has been fined £33,500 and ordered to pay £945.20 in costs.
Oswestry Shropshire Scaffold of Pool Cottage, Oswestry, Shropshire pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and has been fined £28,800 and ordered to pay £945.20 in costs.
Since the incident, the scaffolding firm has sent ten of its workers on training courses, while members of the management team have completed and Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) course.
Manager Lee Roberts told Solar Power Portal: “We've done 2,700 jobs since this and never had an incident.”
Centreco had yet to respond to a request for comment at the time of publication.