31 May 2013
Solar panel installation firm could face legal action over injury
A West Midlands company could face civil legal action after a worker injured himself while at work.
Brian Dolan, 58, was helping his employer to complete the installation of 342 solar panels on the roofs of two warehouse buildings when the incident occurred.
On the second day of the job, Mr Dolan was walking on the roof of one of the buildings when he accidentally stepped on a fragile skylight that collapsed underneath him.
The worker fell and fractured his skull in two places, broke five vertebrae and three ribs. He also suffered a hearing impairment as a result of his head injuries and had to be kept in hospital for more than two weeks.
Mr Dolan had to take seven months off work due to the extent of his injuries and the mental anguish he was subjected to.
A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation launched after the accident failed to conclude exactly how the employee fell through the skylight, but found there were no measures in place to prevent or lessen the impact of a fall.
Inspectors commented that had a safety net been used, Mr Dolan could have escaped injury.
Magistrates at a Westminster Court were told that if bosses had conducted thorough risk assessments and implemented the correct safety measures, the incident would almost certainly have been avoided.
Grenergy Solar of Rugby, Warwickshire, was fined a total of £12,000 and ordered to pay £9,041 in costs after pleading guilty to two separate breaches of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.
HSE inspector Paul Hems commented: "You would expect a company like Grenergy Solar ... to be fully aware of the risks posed by working at height on, with or near fragile surfaces and to take the appropriate safety precautions.
"Mr Dolan suffered terrible injuries in a wholly preventable yet depressingly frequent incident and it is imperative that effective measures are put in place at all times."
Posted by Francesca Witney
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