West Yorkshire Energy Firm Fined After Safety Failings

Fall From Height Left Worker With Serious Injuries

10.11.2014

A green energy company based in West Yorkshire has been successfully prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after a number of safety failings resulted in a member of staff suffering severe injuries when he fell from a roof.

The 27-year-old worker slipped as he installed solar panels on the roof of a barn in Lepton, Huddersfield, falling onto his back and sliding off the edge of the roof onto the ground seven-metres below.

He suffered serious injuries in the fall including seven broken ribs, a bruised lung and a broken collarbone.

HSE inspectors found that the man had no experience of installing solar panels, no risk assessments were carried out and that no safety measures to prevent workers falling off the roof were in place at the time of the incident.

The organisation prosecuted contractor Peter King, trading as Kingson Roofing, Building and Construction, of Ossett, and Investment Renewables Ltd, of Wakefield.

In addition Investment Renewables had not supervised the work to ensure their sub-contractor was operating safely.  

Investment Renewables Ltd was fined £14,000 and ordered to pay £404 in costs after admitting breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, while Peter King was fined £10,000, also with £404 to pay in costs, for a breach of the same Act.

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.”

Expert Opinion
Falls from height are one of the most significant causes of serious injury to workers. This case highlights the dangers of employers failing to undertake simple and straight forward working practices to ensure that workers are protected from injury.

“Thankfully, in this case, the young worker avoided serious life changing injuries and has been able to return to work. On another day, the same accident could have resulted in very serious injury or a fatality.

“I have acted for many construction workers where similar accidents have resulted in devastating injuries with significant consequences for the worker and their family. At a time when the government is seeking to row back in relation to health and safety, it is vital that workers' interests are properly protected and are not simply ignored.”
Ian Bailey, Partner