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Solar panel installer suffers serious workplace injuries

The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health recently cited a solar panel installation company after concluding an investigation into an incident that occurred last December. A 15-foot fall resulting in serious workplace injuries gave rise to the investigation. Cal/OSHA proposed fines of almost $194,000 and a citation for a serious safety violation among others.

According to the investigators, three workers who were not equipped with fall protection were involved in the installation of solar panels on the roof of a home. When one worker lost his footing, he fell about 15 feet to the concrete driveway below. The worker suffered fractures to his jaw and wrist. Falls from roofs and other elevated work areas without protective equipment to arrest them often result in death or permanent disabilities for workers.

Along with the citation for failure to provide fall protection, the company was also cited for failing to provide adequate and appropriate training related to the use of fall protection. Investigators also found that there was no heat illness prevention plan in place. Cal/OSHA issued additional citations when inspectors learned about a previous incident in which electric burn injuries were suffered when solar panels were connected to a breaker box without locking or tagging out the energized equipment.

Sadly, many preventable workplace injuries occur when employers fail to comply with the safety standards prescribed by Cal/OSHA. Fortunately, injured workers can rely on the California workers' compensation insurance system to provide financial assistance. The struggle to deal with mounting medical bills and lost wages can become overwhelming, but an experienced workers' comp attorney can assist with the benefits claims process.

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