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FIRM FINED £300K OVER LIFT INSTALLER DEATH AT HEATHROW

Wake up call for all involved in the installation and maintenance of lifts

Lift manufacturer Schindler Ltd has been fined £300,000 for safety failings after an employee was crushed to death while installing a passenger lift at Heathrow Airport in October 2007

Lift engineer Kevin Dawson, aged 45, was working from a ladder in the pit of a lift shaft with others installing three new lift cars. When colleague used one car to fetch equipment from a higher level and the counterweight descended crushing Mr Dawson causing fatal injuries.

HSE investigators found the unfinished passenger lift was used to carry workers, tools and materials despite missing key safety-critical components. In addition, the radio and telephone arrangements were ineffective, and workers routinely communicated by shouting up and down the lift shaft. This was potentially confusing while others were working in adjacent shafts.

Planning and extreme care required at all times

Schindler Ltd of Sunbury-on-Thames pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) and Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and Regulation 8(1) of the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 in relation to the incident.

The ladder from which Kevin Dawson was working when he was struck and killed by the heavy counterweight.

In addition to the £300,000 fine for the three breaches, Schindler Ltd was also ordered to pay £169,970 in costs.

After the hearing HSE Principal Inspector Norman Macritchie said:

“Kevin Dawson’s death is a wake-up call for all involved in the installation and maintenance of lifts. His death was entirely preventable, and we need to ensure that nobody else suffers the same fate.

It is hard to overstate the potential for death or serious injury arising from moving machinery, electricity and working at height – all of which are everyday risks in this industry.

  The ladder from which Kevin Dawson was working when he was struck and killed by the heavy counterweight.

Lift shafts by their very nature are confined and often poorly-lit places, where heavy components can move suddenly, silently and without warning. Due planning and extreme care must be taken at all times. It wasn’t on this occasion and a life was needlessly lost as a result.”

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