Solar panels are a great way to generate clean, green power. Know how to install solar panels safely so you don’t have to pay the price of accidents and injuries while you help customers and the environment.
Get training in solar panel installation and the common hazards associated with this work. Be familiar with the types and brands of solar panels that you install. Read the installation manuals. Survey your job site for hazards before you begin work and make a work plan. Make sure you have the tools and equipment you need to conduct your installation safely and properly. Wear personal protective equipment such as sturdy work boots, gloves, and safety glasses.
Solar panels are often installed at heights. Use proper ladder safety techniques when you access these elevated areas. Hoist your materials instead of trying to take them up ladders manually. Evaluate the height and the roof pitch to determine if you need to wear fall protection or install safety barriers. Stay away from elevated edges. Watch for openings in the roof such as skylights and vents. Solar installation technicians have died as a result of falls from roofs and through skylights.
Because solar panels generate electricity, take precautions to prevent electric shock. Know and understand the voltage and the flow of electricity through the system. Lockout and tagout electrical sources during work. Don’t cut or modify solar panels unless you have specific manufacturer’s instructions. Never sit or step on solar panels. Don’t install systems near combustible or flammable materials to minimize the risk of fire.
Stop work if there is severe weather or high winds. Solar panels are large and bulky and can take flight off of roofs in high winds. Don’t work in rainy or wet conditions—the electrical work could expose you to electrical shock.