Energy price increases have created a solar energy boom with installations at their highest since 2012, when attractive solar subsidies were available.
In 2009, the Home Insulation Program (HIP) created a surge of market activity over a short period of time. The number of ‘registered installers’ required to keep up with demand was so great that safety standards slipped resulting in a high number of serious or fatal incidents.
Solar panel installation specialists don’t want to see a similar situation occur in their industry.
The job demands that contractors are on the roof for longer and need access more regularly. Solutions are required to keep workers safe during installations and when carrying out maintenance.
The following points should be considered during the planning stage;
- Safe work method. Solar panels deliver electricity, therefore installation is considered an essential service that falls under the regulations associated with construction work. A work safe method must be prepared for the work, including height safety considerations.
- Height safety systems. An experienced contractor will assess the roof to be worked on. The right height safety system for the job will allow for safe access and fall protection. For commercial jobs, systems might include walkways, guard rails, lifelines and harnesses or safety nets. In residential jobs, this might be PPE and a roof access ladder system.
- Working with photovoltaic (PV) panels. PV Panels can be blown around by wind presenting a high risk of falling for the worker. Installers need to consider the weather before starting work and know when to stop.
When installing solar panels in a residential or commercial environment, safety is paramount. The work needs to be properly planned with work height safety front of mind.