Solar panel installer Eco NRG Solutions fined £115k after worker breaks back in roof fall in Cornwall

Solar panel installer Eco NRG Solutions Ltd has been fined £115,000 after a worker broke his back when he fell from a farm roof in Cornwall.

Both the Somerset company and its director Jon Luke Antoniou pleaded guilty to safety failings after 28-year-old Lewis Harding fell more than three metres through a fragile skylight and broke his back in three places while fitting solar panels at Venn Farm on May 19, 2015.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the company failed to take adequate precautions to prevent workers falling from height. There was no edge protection, under-roof netting or boarding provided on site. The company instead relied on an ineffective use of harnesses.

Unsafe working had been taking place for months before the accident and then continued for months afterwards.

The investigation also found that the above failure was attributable to the neglect of director Antoniou.

At Taunton Magistrates Court, Eco NRG Solutions Ltd of Polden Business Centre, Bristol Road, Bridgewater pleaded guilty to breaching Section 4 (1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and Section 33 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. As well as the £115,000 fine, the firm was ordered to pay £2,879.60 costs.

Jon Luke Antoniou of Furze Close, Bridgewater pleaded guilty to breaching Section 37 (1) of the Health and Safety at work Act 1974 and was fined £5,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1,957.40.

HSE inspector Sue Adsett said: “The worker is lucky to have not sustained more life threatening injuries from what we found to be a serious breach of the law.

“This case highlights the importance of directors being vigilant and acting on their obligations.”

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