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A company specialising in solar panels has been fined following the injury of a worker who fell through a roof.

The worker was part of a three-man team working on the outbuilding of a private home in Hawkinge, Kent, in April 2013. The man was walking across the roof of the building, which housed a swimming pool, when he fell through a fragile roof light. The pool cushioned the blow slightly, but the worker hit the flooring and side of the pool with huge impact, causing a fracture to a vertebra and his shin. He was unable to return to work until January 2016, when he started working part time.

Sentencing took place at Canterbury Crown Court, where P V Solar UK Ltd was fined £153,000 and instructed to pay costs £29,480 following a guilty plea. The court had heard that the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) had conducted a full investigation, believing that more could have been done to prevent the incident. Although a safety harness, ladder and scaffold tower had been provided, inadequate training had been given, which meant that the equipment and PPE were far less effective. There were also further measures that could have been implemented to prevent accidents, including hard covers over the fragile roof lights and the use of full scaffold.

Melvyn Stancliffe, inspector for the HSE, said that the worker could have been killed in the accident. He stressed that working at height, especially on or near fragile roofs, required correct safety measures and thorough training.

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