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3 Companies Fined after Fatal Work Accident

By Head of Sheffield, Personal Injury

A renewable technology company and two sub-contractors have been fined after an employee was killed after falling seven metres from a roof while installing solar panels.

The Tamworth man, in his 30s, suffered fatal injuries in the work accident which occurred on an industrial estate in Southam in May 2012.

Alumet Renewable Technologies Ltd was jointly prosecuted alongside sub-contractors Midlands Solar Solutions Ltd, which employed the man to install the panels, and Rugby Scaffolding Services Ltd, which was responsible for installing edge protection.

A work accident investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) identified significant flaws with the health and safety plan and the way the job was managed.

Coventry Crown Court heard the employee was reaching for a drill that had begun sliding towards the edge of the roof he was working on when he slipped and slid through a handrail.

After landing on his head he tragically fell into an immediate coma and died 19 days later in hospital.

The HSE work accident investigation found that the measures in place to prevent anyone falling through skylights were inadequate, the edge protection installed was below standard, and Rugby Scaffolding Services employees weren’t properly supervised or trained in how to install the protection.

Alumet Renewable Energy Technologies Ltd, of Bourne End, Southam, was fined £66,000 and ordered to pay £12,491 in costs after admitting breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

Rugby Scaffolding Services Ltd, of Rugby, Warwickshire, admitted the same charge and was fined £60,000 and ordered to pay costs of £12,491.

Midlands Solar Solutions Ltd, of Mill Street, Sutton Coldfield, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the same Act and was fined £50,000 and ordered to pay £12,491 in costs.

In 2013-14 falls from height were the most common cause of fatal work accidents, accounting for nearly 29% of fatal injuries to employees.

Working on roofs accounts for almost 25% of employees killed in falls from height as well as a significant number of serious injuries, many of which involve life-changing disabilities.

While the number of work accident injury figures has fallen over the past 13 years, fatal fall injury numbers have remained steady.

Working at height is always a high-risk activity and employers have a duty of care to ensure their staff are properly trained and have the best possible safety procedures in place to protect them.

Matthew Tomlinson is a Senior Personal Injury Solicitor at Slater and Gordon Lawyers specialising in work accidents and fatal accident compensation.

Slater and Gordon Lawyers offer a free consultation for people injured in work accidents through no fault of their own. Call freephone 0800 916 9046  24/7 or contact us online and we’ll be happy to help you.

Slater and Gordon are a leading personal injury law firm with 1,450 staff and offices in London, Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, Sheffield, Milton Keynes, Bristol, Derby, Merseyside, Cardiff, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Halifax, Newcastle, Wakefield and meeting rooms in Bramhall, Cheshire and in Hull, Yorkshire.