Eco firm and director fined after worker breaks back in fall

Belinda Liversedge
British Safety Council
19 May 2017
Photograph: iStock / Anthony Brown

A renewable energy systems provider and its director have both been fined after a worker fell more than 3m while installing solar panels at a farm in Cornwall.

Taunton Magistrates Court heard how Lewis Harding, 28, had been fitting solar panels on a fragile roof at holiday-maker retreat, Venn Farm on 19 May 2015, when he plunged through a skylight. The worker sustained life threatening injuries, breaking his back in three places.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found Eco NRG Solutions Ltd had 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.

Director Jon Luke Antoniou had allowed unsafe working to go on for months before the accident and then continued for months afterwards, the court heard. The investigation found his neglect had led to the failures in the incident. 

Eco NRG Solutions Ltd of Polden Business Centre, 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 and was fined £115,000 with costs of £2879.60.

Jon Luke Antoniou of Furze Close, Bridgewater has pleaded guilty to breaching Section 37 (1) of the Health and Safety at work Act 1974 and has been fined £5,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1957.40.

Speaking after the hearing 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.”