Firms fined after 'easily preventable' fall - The Rugby Observer
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Firms fined after 'easily preventable' fall

Rugby Editorial 11th Feb, 2015 Updated: 27th Oct, 2016

THREE firms have been fined for safety failings after a worker died while fitting solar panels in Southam.

Kevin Brookes suffered fatal injuries when he fell seven metres from a roof at the headquarters of renewable energy firm Alumet on the Kineton Road Industrial Estate in May 2012.

Principal contractor Alumet Renewable Technologies was jointly prosecuted with sub-contractors Midlands Solar Solutions, who employed 35 year-old Mr Brookes to install the panels, and Rugby Scaffolding Services, responsible for installing edge protection.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) identified serious flaws with the health and safety plan and the way the work was managed.

Coventry Crown Court heard that Brookes, who was from Tamworth, was attempting to retrieve a drill that had started to slide down towards the edge of the roof when he slipped and slid through the handrail, over the edge of the building, landing on his head.

Mr Brookes, who was the sole carer for his elderly disabled father, fell into an immediate coma and died 19 days later in hospital.

The HSE investigation found Alumet had failed to put an adequate health and safety plan in place. The measures outlined in their plan were not sufficient to protect the workers, and those measures that were in place were not being followed by Alumet or the other two companies involved in the work.

The investigation found the edge protection did not meet nationally agreed standards. It also revealed employees of Rugby Scaffolding Services were not properly trained to install the protection and did not have appropriate supervision.

It was also found that there were unsuitable provisions in place to prevent people falling through the skylights.

Alumet was fined £66,000 and ordered to pay nearly £12,500 in costs after admitting breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act.

Rugby Scaffolding Services Limited, of Regent Place, Rugby, admitted the same charge and was fined £60,000 and also ordered to pay costs of nearly £12,500.

Midlands Solar Solutions, of Sutton Coldfield, also pleaded guilty to breaching the same act and was fined £50,000 and ordered to pay costs of nearly £12,500.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Amy Kalay said: “This fatal fall was entirely and easily preventable. The health and safety plan and mechanisms put in place to carry out the work fell far below the required standards.

“All three companies had copious experience of working at height to install solar panels and as such should have been experts.

“Alumet Renewable Technologies knew that the work was a high-risk activity, and the company should have known what measures to put in place to keep workers safe and made sure these precautions were followed by everyone involved.”

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