Preventing Worker Deaths in the Solar Industry
As the use of solar energy continues to grow in California and nationally, an increasing number of workers are exposed to unique hazards than can cause injury or death.
The California Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (FACE) program investigates work-related fatalities to identify the causes and prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future. FACE has recently investigated the deaths of three solar installers. Hazards that contributed to these deaths include pitched roofs, working too close to the roof’s edge, lack of fall protection, proximity of overhead power lines, and unguarded skylights.
FACE produced four fact sheets (in English and Spanish), three investigation reports, and one digital story (short safety video – see below for more information) to warn solar workers and employers of potential workplace hazards:
Preventing Falls in the Solar Industry – A New ‘Digital Story’
Hans Petersen said goodbye to his roommate and left for work to install solar panels. Hans didn’t return from work that day. He died on the job when he stepped backwards off an apartment building roof and fell 45 feet.
OHB’s FACE program has created a four-minute “digital story” to explain the tragic events that led to Petersen’s fatal fall and what could have been done to prevent it. The video honors Petersen’s memory and encourages residential solar and construction contractors and workers to work safely and use the right equipment. Watch the solar video.
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FACE partners with industry, labor, community and public health advocates to get the word out about our investigation findings and prevention recommendations. Trade associations, employers, labor centers, foreign consulates and community colleges have incorporated our materials into their outreach and training efforts. As more and more workers enter this growing industry, we want to make sure solar jobs are safe for all workers.
Additional Solar & Green Jobs Resources
Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation Program (FACE) main page
Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation Program (FACE) publications
Occupational Health Surveillance and Evaluation Program (OHSEP)
Occupational Health Branch