Accidents can happen anytime and anywhere. Whether one works at heights every day or just once in a while, the safety focus during those times should have the highest priority as it only takes one mistake to turn a routine task into a serious injury or fatality. One must be prepared to protect themselves and the other employees each and every time they could be exposed to a fall hazard.
An example of a solar panel installation incident happened not too long ago, a 19-year-old apprentice electrician was killed installing solar panels () after falling through a roof. The apprentice stepped on a plastic roof sheet and despite using a fall arrest device the rope still had too much slack between the worker and the anchorage point, allowing the worker to fall 7 meters to the concrete slab below.
If you work with solar panel installations, keep your people safe. Installing solar panels exposes workers to serious risks that can result in death or serious injury. Falls from heights are the leading cause of deaths in the construction industry. Installers must reduce and manage the risk of falls to ensure the safety of workers and themselves.
Taking time to plan your work before accessing the roof will help keep you safe. A formal risk assessment with agreed controls must be completed prior to commencing any work. The steps to the risk assessment are:
Use this information to determine the best fall protection system to use. To protect workers from falls, prevention is the safest option. At SECURE HEIGHT SYSTEMS, we ensure that we follow occupational health and safety regulations set by the Australian government to minimize any accidents that might occur during solar panel installation or any other job.
Examples of fall prevention devices include permanent edge protection and scaffolding . These will provide protection at the roof edge but may not prevent falls through brittle roof materials. Where falls can’t be prevented, harness-based systems of work such as work positioning, restraint technique or fall arrest should always be used. Work positioning is where the worker is suspended or supported from a rope that is under tension at all times, so there is no slack in the system.
Restraint technique is a type of fall arrest where the worker continuously adjusts the lanyard length to prevent them reaching a position where they could fall. It can provide safe access to a large area, but must be carefully used to avoid excessive slack. A lanyard that stops you reaching the roof edge may not stop you reaching a brittle roof surface. Other types of fall arrest may include non-adjustable systems, lifelines, catch platforms and safety nets.
Before commencing with solar panel installation, the worker must follow these bullet points for height safety and to minimize the risks of falling:
And before starting any work, make sure all workers are trained, educated in height safety, and fit for work. This includes training them to use the specific fall protection systems used on each job. Ensure all workers understand emergency procedures on site in case an incident does occur. Everyone has a right and obligation to stop work if they feel it is unsafe. Provide adequate supervision to ensure fall protection systems are being used properly. You have the power to save others. Speak up if someone is not using fall protection, it might just save their life!
While height safety equipment is essential and a must when attempting to install a solar panel, the most important at the end of the day is following the proper protocol. Period, If a company wants their employees to work safely at heights, they must be properly trained. Not only is training required by law, but there is just too much room for mistakes and accidents when it comes to a person trying to protect themselves at height without proper knowledge.
Height safety compliance starts with the design. Send through your architectural plans and we will advise you with the site specific on-budget solution.
An accredited team of height safety installers with the experience to ensure we over-deliver. Our team of installers is flexible and can be on-site on short notice.