Demo contractor and contracts manager fined over lift shaft death
Demolition contrtor T E Scudder Ltd and Contracts Manager Patrick Pearson have been fined a total of £603,000 following an incident in which a construction worker died and a co-worker was seriously injured after falling six storeys in a lift shaft.
Southwark Crown Court heard how work was being carried out to decommission a lift shaft in a building being converted into luxury apartments. The chain supporting the lift car failed causing it to fall to the bottom of the shaft whilst the two men were working on top of lift car.
One of the workmen was wearing a fall arrest harness attached to the top of the lift car. He fell into the space between the car and shaft and survived the fall despite suffering serious injuries.
The second man was not wearing a harness and died instantly.
Hazards not addressed at planning stage
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) carried out an investigation and found that the planning and management of the project was inadequate.
- T E Scudder Ltd – of Great Central Way, Wembley was the Principle Contractor and employer on site. The company pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) and Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, was fined £600,000 and ordered to pay £27,408 in costs.
- Patrick Pearson – of Broadway, Leigh on Sea, Essex, the director of Intervale Ltd, was the contract manager responsible for planning the decommissioning of lift shafts on site. He pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3 (2) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. He has been ordered to complete 120 hours community service and pay costs of £3000.
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.”