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£48,000 fine after worker crushed in lift

An employee of Walkabout bar in Swansea was using a goods lift to transport heavy chairs. So that he was able to fit eight chairs in the lift in one go, he overrode a safety mechanism allowing the inner door to remain open.

However, as the lift moved up from the basement level, the leg of an upturned chair caught on the ledge of the ground floor. This caused the stack of chairs to shift, trapping him against the side of the lift car.  Colleagues were unable to find the “V-plate” key which was needed to open the lift doors in an emergency. It took the fire and rescue service over an hour and a half to release him. He suffered a hypoxic ischemic brain injury caused by pressure to the chest and abdomen and died four days later in hospital.

HSE inspectors, including a specialist in lift safety, carried out an inspection.  They found that overriding the safety mechanism was not especially unusual: other members of staff admitted they had also done so. The lift was found to be in poor condition with faults being reported by staff on many occasions. The company had also missed several of the thorough examinations which are required on a six-monthly basis.

Interain Ltd, which owned the pub chain at the time pleaded guilty to four counts of breaching the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER) and one count of breaching the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999. The company was fined £48,000 pls £15,000 costs.