Defunct solar installer fined £250,000 following worker fall

Solar installation firm Solarjen has been fined £250,000 and ordered to pay costs after a number of health and safety failings contributed towards a worker’s fall.

Bristol-based Solarjen, which traded as Paul O’Brien Solar Installations (SW) at the time, was carrying out roof works on Fairlawn School in Montpelier, Bristol in June 2015 when the accident occurred.

A worker fell more than 3.5 metres through a roof void and suffered serious injuries as a consequence, including fractured ribs and a fractured spleen.

A subsequent investigation carried out by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that physical guarding was not set up by the company to prevent the fall, and appropriate supervision was also not organised.

Mehtaab Hamid, inspector at the HSE, said: “The company failed to properly organise the work and make sure the workers knew what safety measures were needed, as well providing appropriate supervision to ensure work was not undertaken without the measures being put in place.

“As a result, serious harm was caused to one worker and others were put at serious risk.”

Solarjen pleaded guilty to breaching regulation 4(1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 at a HSE hearing and was ordered to pay a fine of £250,000 as well as costs of more than £12,000.

However the company filed for liquidation in January this year just two months after changing its trading name to Solarjen.

Documents filed to Companies House after the company’s appointment of liquidators revealed it had collapsed with debts of around £1.5 million, including a £10,000 charge owed to the Health & Safety Executive and more than £400,000 in book debts to related companies.