The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has prosecuted a solar installer and a green energy firm in West Yorkshire for safety breaches following a severe injury to a worker who fell from a roof during a solar install.

The worker fell seven metres from a pitched agricultural barn roof, breaking seven ribs, his collarbone and bruising a lung. The worker, who had never installed solar before, lost his footing when it began to rain and he slipped off the roof.

Investigating the accident, HSE identified serious safety failings by Peter King, trading as Kingson Roofing, Building and Construction and Investment Renewables. The HSE found that Investment Renewables had subcontracted Peter King to undertake the installation of 56 solar modules on the roof. Both parties failed to identify and assess the risks associated with such an install.

HSE learnt that no safety system was put in place on the install, with neither of the defendants providing edge protection to mitigate roof falls. In addition, of the three installers working on the solar array, only one had experience installing solar.

Investment Renewables was fined £14,000 and ordered to pay £404 in costs after admitting to breaking the Health and Safety at Work Act. Peter King of Kingson Roofing, Building and Construction was fined £14,000 and also made to pay £404 in costs.

Commenting on the case, 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.”