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    Competent person examination should have identified defects

    Burghley House Preservation Trust Limited has been fined £266,000 after a domestic servant was crushed to death by a luggage lift in July 2014.

    Arthur Mellar, 48, a butler at Burghley House in Stamford died when the lift descended on him whilst he was freeing an item of luggage which had become stuck.

    Peterborough Crown Court heard that bags were being moved from the ground to second floor in the private area of Burghley House when one of the bags became jammed and the lift stopped.

    When Mr Mellar went to free the bags the lift descended trapping him between the lift cage and the bannister of the stairwell housing the lift. Examination of the lift revealed that a slack rope detector was not fitted.

    HSE told the court that an assessment of the lift would have shown that the lift should have been thoroughly examined and tested. A competent lift engineer should have identified defects with the lift, including a lack of a slack rope detector.

    Older lift users urged to assess and act 

    Burghley House Preservation Trust Limited, whose registered office is 61 St Martins, Stamford, Lincolnshire, pleaded guilty to a breach of Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and were today fined £266,000 and ordered to pay costs of £16,863.

    Speaking after the sentencing, HSE inspector Alison Ashworth said:

    “Arthur Mellar was killed when a luggage lift descended on him while he was trying to free an item of luggage. This was a completely avoidable incident, and Burghley House admitted its role in it, but of course that will be little comfort for Mr Mellar’s family.

    I would urge any business using lifts, particularly older lifts such as the one in this case, watching this case to ensure correct measures are taken in relation to maintenance of lifts and that competent lift engineers are employed when necessary to identify defects.”


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