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DEATH REVEALED GAPS IN MEWP EMERGENCY TRAINING

Trapped worker colleagues unaware of emergency scissor lift controls

Firesafe Installations Limited has been prosecuted following the death of Shaun Scurry, 39, who died following an incident at the Westfield shopping centre in East London on 9 December 2009 during use of a mobile elevated work platforms (MEWPs) to access high work areas.

Southwark Crown Court in London heard (11 April) that Mr Scurry was trapped between a guardrail of the scissor lift and overhead ducting. A colleague was unaware of how to use the emergency controls and unable to release him and bring him down.

The court was told that Firesafe Installations cannot be held directly accountable for the death although the company should have ensured staff knew how to operate the equipment they were using.

HSE investigators established that familiarisation training was inadequate. Industry guidance requires such training for anyone using MEWPs. The training must be routinely assessed because controls vary between different makes and models.

Familiarisation for operatives and others in event of emergency

Firesafe Installations Limited, of Security House, Caddick Road, Knowsley Industrial Park South, was fined £30,000 and ordered to pay £29,000 in costs after pleading guilty to a single breach of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 Regulation 9(1) which requires training, including the methods when using the work equipment plus any risks and precautions to be taken.

After the hearing HSE Inspector Eileen Gascoigne said:

“This tragic case underlines the importance of familiarisation training – not only for direct operatives, but also those who may be required to take control in the event of an emergency.

There is clear HSE and Industry Guidance on what is expected of companies working with MEWPs in this regard, and the failing of Firesafe Installations Limited is a clear example of why it is so important.”

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