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Preston Solar Panel Firm Fined Over Worker's Death

Firm Fined £45,000 Following Death Of Worker Who Fell Through Barn Roof


A Preston-based solar panel installation firm was sentenced last week, following the death of a worker in 2011. The company was fined £45,000 after it was found it had failed to provide adequate safe protection.

34-year old Gregorz Sobko fell five metres to a concrete floor below after a clear plastic roof panel gave way underneath him. He died in hospital ten days later.

Preston Crown Court heard that Eco Generation had only given each worker two wooden planks to stand on while they worked on the roof, which featured many fragile panels.

The court also heard that there were several measures that should have been taken to protect workers, such as putting up barriers or protective covers and installing netting under the panels.

The HSE investigation found that some netting had been installed, but not enough to adequately cover every panel.

Eco Generation was ordered to pay the fine and £20,515 in prosecution costs after pleading guilty to two breaches of the Work at Height Regulations 2006.

HSE Inspector Chris Smith said of the case: “The risk of people falling through fragile roofs is well known, and the fact that Eco Generation installed netting under a small part of the roof shows the company was aware of the dangers. 

“However, this didn’t even come close to what was needed to protect the workers. It is vital firms carrying out work on roofs take the risks seriously and put measures in place to protect their employees.”

Expert Opinion
This tragic accident is yet another example of the dangers posed to employees who spend time working at height. The HSE has implemented stringent guidelines designed to protect workers and ensure any work conducted at height is done so safely. However, time and time again we see shocking incidents such as this one, where a person loses their life as a result of health and safety failing.

“We hope that the prosecution acts as a reminder to companies that require staff to work at height to make safety their top priority. In our work we have seen the devastating consequences accidents at work can have and it is vital the appropriate safety measures are implemented to prevent tragic incidents like this in the future.”
Stephen Nye, Partner

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