The continued growth of green energy is increasing demand for solar panel installation. If your business is starting to get involved in the solar industry, you must take some time to review your Health and Safety processes as well as your Electrical Contractors Insurance policy. This will ensure that you have the correct level of risk management and cover in place.
What Are The Common Mistakes and Risks?
Installing solar panels on a slanted rooftop can be a dangerous task, and even a small mistake in the process could cause serious injury. Errors that go unnoticed during installation could eventually be a severe liability to you and our company, even if they do not initially cause problems.
Items falling from height can cause injury to members of the public or damage to third party property. These types of incidents would typically be covered on your Public Liability Insurance. Still, you should check your policy documentation carefully to ensure you do not have a height limit restriction and that your insurer is aware that you are carrying our solar installations.
Similarly, one of the most common areas for employee injury is falling from height. In fact, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) report that this is the third highest cause of fatal injury at work, representing 20% of all fatalities. If your employees will be undertaking solar installation ensure that your business insurer is aware and appropriate employers liability cover is in place.
How To Minimise Risk of Injury?
As a solar photovoltaic (PV) technician or a solar installer, you have a duty of care to minimise the risk of careless mistakes and to make the working area safe for you, your employees and members of the public.
The following tips will help you to avoid common solar panel installation mishaps, but best practice is to carry out a detailed risk assessment prior to any works commencing:
- Keep modules packed until you are ready to use them, to avoid broken glass.
- To prevent trips, falls and broken glass, do not leave modules on the ground unprotected.
- Do not use a panel if the glass is broken or cracked – using broken panels presents a potential hazard of chemical leaking.
- Only work in dry conditions and on dry modules to prevent slips and falls.
- Carefully trim trees, branches and other objects that rise above panels to prevent broken or cracked glass as well as energy source obstruction after installation.
- During installation, cover the faces of panels with opaque material to halt electrical production.
- Do not touch terminals while modules are exposed to light.
- Follow all the standards of safe plumbing when installing PV hot water heaters.
- Earth all electrical systems and tools properly.
- Use safe lifting techniques when carrying solar panels. Bend at the knees and lift with your legs to avoid back strain.
- Do not use aluminium mounting rails or ladders on site until all electrocution hazards, such as overhead power lines, have been identified.
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