- SafeWork says it will make unexpected visits to installers of rooftop solar panels
- Statutory body fears heightened risk due to solar demand
- 90,000 were installed last year in NSW, according to Minister Kevin Anderson
Kevin Anderson, the Minister for Better Regulation, has put installers of rooftop panels on notice, saying they should expect visits from SafeWork’s inspectors.
This comes as a result of the boom in demand for solar panels – which health and safety regulators say comes with an associated risk.
He says the installation of solar systems exposes workers to many risks such as injuries through falls from ladders, roofs, skylights and electrical risks, and these can be exacerbated when there is a strong increase in demand.
“Last year we saw around 90,000 installations across the state and no doubt there will be even more this year, as many of us look at new ways to reduce costs of living,” Mr Anderson said.
“While our focus is on proactively raising awareness of safe practices, we will be taking a zero-tolerance approach to those who put workers’ lives at risk by not using the right safety gear or conducting work without a licence.”
The Clean Energy Council, the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment alongside other key representatives formulated the new workplace safety guide.
Mr Anderson continued by stressing that all installers must have fall protection in place and adds that anybody who witnesses installers who do not follow this to report to Safework NSW via their hotline or the SpeakUp add.
Individuals face $720 on-the-spot for breaches with business potentially receiving $3,600.
To better educate installers and workers, SafeWork will be holding online safety information events and is offering small businesses who attend a $500 safety rebate to facilitate the upgrade of safety equipment.
“Businesses that sell, design and install solar systems have duties to provide and maintain a working environment that is safe for every worker,” concludes Mr Anderson.