Preventing risks and harm in solar panel installations

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Media Release by NSW Department of Customer Service

Companies involved in rooftop solar panel installation are being warned the workplace regulator is prosecuting businesses for exposing employees to workplace risk. 

Two companies recently faced Downing Centre Local Court in separate prosecutions arising from a solar panel installation at North Ryde on 1 December 2021.

Head of SafeWork NSW Natasha Mann said these prosecutions should remind all businesses and workers that safety is not just about whether there is an incident or not, they need to be taking proactive action to manage risks and prevent incidents from occurring.

“In one prosecution, sub-contractor SY Electrical Pty Ltd was convicted and fined $8,000 for failing to minimise risk of fall from height by not providing and maintaining adequate employee protection,” Ms Mann said.

“The business was also convicted and fined an additional $8000 for failing to ensure a Safe Work Method Statement was prepared for the high-risk construction work.”

The court heard two SY Electrical employees were working on the roof of the two-storey residence at North Ryde without any fall protection measures in place.

The investigation by SafeWork NSW revealed the employees were working at heights greater than two metres and about five metres respectively.

In the other prosecution, Solar Power Nation Pty Ltd was convicted and fined a total of $14,000 in the Downing Centre Local Court on charges arising from the events at North Ryde.

The court heard Solar Power Nation subcontracted SY Electrical to carry out the solar panel installation at the two-storey dwelling in Sydney’s northwest.

“We need solar businesses to understand working safely is more than a policy statement in workplace manuals, it’s a legal responsibility that they need to be monitoring every day and on every job,” Ms Mann said.

“Experience shows that the businesses who invest in a strong safety culture are likely to produce better quality work and have higher staff engagement.”

Businesses and employees may find out how to control solar panel installation risks at this weblink. Get the SafeWork NSW free Guide to Safe Solar Panel Installation at this link.

Find out how to select a temporary edge protection system today by clicking here.

Further information about workplace safety can be found on the SafeWork website here.