Shaft fall highlights height hazards at Lincolnshire school - Northampton compan

Tuesday, 21st Apr '09 at 14:29

Lift manufacturers and maintenance companies are reminded of their duties to the safety of staff and the penalties of failing to work safely at height.  The warning follows an incident in Lincolnshire where an employee fell 6.5 metres down a lift shaft, resulting in serious injuries.

The UK Lift Company of Blisworth, Northampton, were fined £2,000 and ordered to pay costs of £8,000 at Lincoln magistrates court today (15 April) after pleading guilty to contravening Regulation 4 (1) and Regulation 6(3) (Reg 6(3) is mentioned in the information and the notes to editor) of the Work At Height Regulations 2005 in that they failed to carry out the repair of a school lift safely.

The case arose from an incident at North Kesteven School in Lincolnshire in February last year when the company's assistant site manager, Michael Richards fell 6.5 metres, from the second floor, down the School's lift shaft whilst helping a lift engineer.  He suffered serious injuries including a broken pelvis, other broken bones, fractures and ligament damage as a result.

Prosecuting, HSE Inspector Judith McNulty-Green said:

"The injuries Mr Richards suffered were very serious and this incident could have easily been avoided. Working at a lift landing with the landing door open is clearly unsafe, generating a foreseeable risk of a fall. This is made worse by the presence of other people, either assisting or unexpectedly entering the danger zone, particularly in a school where there are pupils in the vicinity.

"Risks of this nature must be managed by carrying out a suitable risk assessment and implementing and enforcing the necessary control measures. Those measures in this case would have ideally been locating the working platform on the second floor or installing barriers and signage.

"Had appropriate control measures been put in place when the lift was being repaired, the injuries could have been avoided.

"Companies are required by the Health and Safety at Work Act and by the Work at Height Regulations to take all reasonable measures to ensure the safety of employees and others that may be affected by that work.  The outcome of this incident - the injuries and the subsequent fine - remind us that the results can be serious for people and for businesses that fail to comply"

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