The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has prosecuted two companies for safety failings after one man died and another was left seriously injured after falling six storeys through a lift shaft.
An HSE investigation found that the incident occurred whilst work was being carried out to decommission a lift shaft in a building being converted into luxury apartments.
The workers fell six storeys when the chain supporting the lift-car broke whilst two men were working on top of it, causing it to fall to the bottom of the shaft.
The worker who survived was wearing a harness attached to the top of the lift car and because he fell in the space between the car and shaft, he survived with serious injuries. However, the other worker was not wearing a harness and died instantly.
The Health and Safety Executive investigation found that the planning and management of the project was inadequate.
T E Scudder Ltd of Great Central Way, Wembley in north London acted as the principle contractor and employer on site.
At Southwark Crown Court, TE Scudder Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) and Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.
The company was fined £600,000 and ordered to pay £27,408 in costs.
Patrick Pearson of Broadway, Leigh-on-Sea in Essex – the director of Intervale Ltd – was the contract manager responsible for planning the decommissioning of lift shafts on site.
Pearson pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3 (2) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and has been ordered to complete 120 hours of community service, as well as paying costs of £3,000.
After sentencing, HSE Inspector Lisa Chappell said:
“The hazards associated with working at height and lifting were not appropriately addressed in the planning stage of this project. Furthermore, those involved in planning the job did not have appropriate training in lifting operations.This case highlights the importance of proper planning when working at height. This work must be appropriately supervised and completed by competent people.”
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