11.5 C
Byron Shire
May 24, 2024

Rooftop solar installation safety in the spotlight

Latest News

New attractions for Mullum2Bruns Paddle

There’s new free activities to enjoy at Banner Park in Brunswick Heads after this year’s Mullum2Bruns Paddle, which will be held this Sunday, May 26, from 9.30am till 2.30pm.

Other News

Shambolic roads

With regards to the Echo article, ‘Let’s dive deep into potholes’ (May 15), I am appalled at the attitude...

Goonellabah Skate Park overhaul to start next week

New ‘skate elements’ to be introduced have reportedly been designed by skatepark specialists Trinity Skateparks, with input from ‘local enthusiasts’.

Consumer watchdog asked to investigate MasterChef ‘renewable gas’ claims

Claims that ‘renewable gas’ is making MasterChef 'greener' are under scrutiny following a complaint to the ACCC.

Posters gone

I am writing to bring attention to a growing issue in our community – the removal of community posters....

The Fall Guy

Ryan Gosling and Emily Blunt are being silly in a film take of the ‘80s television series: The Fall Guy. He’s a stuntman, and like everyone in the stunt community, he gets blown up, shot, crashed, thrown through windows and dropped from the highest of heights, all for our entertainment. And now, fresh off an almost career-ending accident, this working-class hero has to track down a missing movie star, solve a conspiracy, and try to win back the love of his life while still doing his day job. What could possibly go right?

Appeal to locate man missing from Mullumbimby

Police are appealing for public assistance to locate a man missing from Mullumbimby.

Solar installation supervisor and workers. SafeWork NSW.

Workers installing solar panels on rooftops can expect a visit from SafeWork NSW Inspectors, who are undertaking a six-month state-wide operation to ensure safety in this busy industry.

SafeWork NSW Executive Director Compliance & Dispute Resolution Matthew Press said this is the second time SafeWork Inspectors have targeted this activity, with inspectors visiting 286 solar panel installation sites in 2021, uncovering some alarming unsafe practices.

‘The installation of solar photovoltaic systems on rooftops has increased markedly over recent years, due in part to government rebates, with NSW having installed most new rooftop solar panels in Australia in 2021,’ said Mr Press.

‘Solar retailers and installers have responsibilities under work health and safety laws to ensure workers are not at risk of falls from heights or contact with electricity, the two biggest safety risks the industry faces.

‘Falls from heights is the biggest cause of traumatic fatalities on NSW construction sites, with most serious or fatal falls being from roofs, ladders or unsafe scaffolds – and from a height of four metres or less. That’s about the height of a single storey house.’

Safety

Mr Press said the safest protection against falls from heights when working on a roof is to use roof rails or scaffold, with aolar rooftop installers urged to only use harnesses as a last resort when roof rails cannot be installed.

‘It is of great concern that of the 286 inspections last year, 69 per cent of sites were only using harnesses or did not have fall protection at all. Of the sites using harnesses, 32 per cent did not have appropriate anchor points in place, and 50 per cent were not clipped on to anything,’ said Mr Press.

‘A further 26 per cent of sites did not have their ladder fixed at the top, nor did the ladder extend one metre past the landing space.’

He said the inspections also found that 27 per cent of sites did not place a lock on the main electrical switch or the meter box and 14 per cent did not adequately address the risk of overhead powerlines.

‘Last year an inspector observed a solar panel installation in progress with a worker at risk of falls of approximately 3.4 meters from a residential home, as the harness system in use was not connected properly,’ said Mr Press.

‘It was also found the means of access to the roof was not acceptable due to the ladder being unsecured.’

The risks are real

In January 2020, an apprentice electrician fractured his pelvis and back after falling more than three metres from a roof while installing solar panels at a construction site in Parklea.

Later that year, during another solar install, a 27-year-old roofing contractor fell more than three metres through the roof of a sheering shed fracturing his back, at a rural property in Alectown near Parkes.

‘That is why SafeWork will have their boots on the ground, working with retailers and installers from now until the end of the year to ensure rooftop solar installers safety,’ said Mr Press.

‘Fines will be issued for non-compliance, with a zero-tolerance approach taken to falls risks. SafeWork has $1,000 rebates available for safety purchases which could prevent an incident and is a better investment than a $3,600 on-the-spot fine.’

A Guide to Solar Panel Safety and accompanying installers checklist is available to assist with controlling the risks. For information on SafeWork’s safety rebates visit: www.nsw.gov.au/grants-and-funding/1000-safework-small-business-rebate.


Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Five hours spent at last Thursday’s Byron Council

If you need a fix of local government decision-making, you could dip into the odd five-hour online recording of what occurred at last Thursday’s Council meeting.

Editorial – Optics vs reform

One of the more hyped elements of last week’s federal budget was a $300 handout to every homeowner to alleviate the increase in energy costs.

Final kambo witnesses called, inquest yet to hear from Lore Solaris and Cameron Kite

The Jarrad Antonovich inquest ground inexorably towards its conclusion yesterday, with more evidence from witnesses showing the tragedy could possibly have been avoided, and certainly the ongoing damage lessened, if everyone involved had taken responsibility earlier.

A long story

I see that Israel supporters take exception to the expression ‘from the river to the sea’ as meaning that all Jews should be wiped...