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Solar panel installer’s fall draws serious citations, fines

solar panels

A worker seriously injured in a fall off a roof while working on a home in Oakland, California, has led to fines totaling $193,905 for an Anaheim, California-based solar panel installation company, which was found to be in violation of several safety standards, the Division of Occupational Safety and Health of California announced Monday.

Nexus Energy Systems Inc. was cited for multiple serious workplace safety hazards including one willful serious accident-related violation following an investigation that found the company did not provide fall protection for its workers, Cal/OSHA said in a statement.

On Dec. 6, three installers were putting in solar panels at the Oakland residence when one of the workers lost his footing and fell 15 feet onto the concrete driveway, suffering a broken wrist and jaw. None of the workers were wearing fall protection, according to the statement.

“Falls from roofs are often deadly, and that is why employers must protect their employees from fall hazards and provide effective training,” Cal/OSHA Deputy Chief of Enforcement Debra Lee said in a statement. “This employer was aware of these dangers and ignored its responsibility to address them.”

Cal/OSHA cited Nexus Energy Systems for five violations, three related to the December accident and not having fall protection nor a training program in place. Cal/OSHA cited the company for two remaining general violations for failing to implement an effective heat illness protection plan and an injury and illness prevention program that identifies and corrects hazards specific to the worksite, according to the statement.

Cal/OSHA also cited the company for two additional violations stemming from an incident that investigators learned had taken place the previous September, when a worker suffered electrical burns while connecting solar panels to an energized breaker box. Cal/OSHA noted one serious continuing violation for failing to provide insulated gloves or tools while working on energized equipment, and a general violation for the employer’s failure to investigate the industrial accident and take measures to correct safety hazards. 

Officials with Nexus Energy Systems could not immediately be reached for comment.




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