Ever wondered what happens when cases end up in court? Would you want to be in any way part of it?
Lift Owners: Have you ever questioned your lift company about the staff they employ to work on your lifts, if not, why not? How do you know that they haven't sub-contracted works out to a 3rd party? How sure can you be that if there was a problem, that they will sort it out or will they just walk away and leave you on your own? Will their actions lead you to court and are you getting value for money?
Lift Firms: Have your lift engineers been properly trained and examined to the new National standard? Do you trust your employees not to lead you to court for liability claims? How can you convince to your customer that your staff know how to work safe on their lifts? Can they pass an exam to prove their competence and knowledge and work safe onsite under your name?
Read a selection below who have been prosecuted by the HSE with over £12m in fines brought against both lift owners and lift firms of the lift industry sector.
CORISANDE COLLINS, was crushed by an incorrectly loaded cage filled with dozens of pots of paint fracturing the middle part of her spine. She sustained severe spinal injuries and has been left paralysed, with a one per cent chance of walking again. The floor of the main goods lift was not level with the shop floor and the roll cage which fell on Ms Collins. High Street retailer Wilko has been fined over £2 million.
RICHARD FAREHAM, 61, fell to his death after feeling anxious and claustrophobic in a broken lift, he died from multiple injuries. Hotel group chain, Ramada Jarvis, failed to act on essential recommendations to upgrade an old lift was fined £400,000.
ARTHUR MELLAR, 48, a butler at Burghley House in Stamford, which has featured in movie adaptations such as The Da Vinci Code and Pride and Prejudice, was killed when a luggage lift descended on him while he was trying to free an item of luggage which had become stuck and stopped the lift. Examination of the lift showed that it had not been fitted with a slack rope detector. Burghley House Preservation Trust Limited, pleaded guilty to a breach of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and were fined £266,000 and ordered to pay costs of £16,863.
KATARZYNA WOJA, 32, was killed as she stepped out of a lift at Holmes Place Health Club now owned by Virgin Active. She was dragged between a wall and the lift when it suddenly fell a few feet and stopped between two floor levels. ThyssenKrupp Elevator UK and Holmes Place Health Clubs previously admitted breaking health and safety laws. Ms Woja's widower Nebojsa Dorontic, 39, said his wife was a "very intelligent and charming young lady" and "I not only lost Katarzyna, I also lost a life partner, a wife and a true friend." Holmes Place Health Club and lift firm ThyssenKrupp Elevator received fines and costs totalling £841,000.
CRAIG JONES, 27, died after falling five floors down the lift shaft after the lift broke down in Marsden House in Bolton town centre. Building management company, Warwick Estates Property Management, admitted breaching health and safety regulations and has been fined £120,000 was also ordered to pay £45,000 costs.
MOHAMMED FERDOUS, 31, was working in the basement of the Tesco Metro in Warwick Way, Victoria, central London, removing crates of food that caused an employee to lose five toes when his foot was crushed from a faulty lift. Tesco and the lift maintenance contractor Otis both admitted the charges under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 for failing to ensure that the lift was properly maintained. Tesco was fined £115,000 and Otis was fined £110,000.
MAY LEWIS, 96, died after she fell down a lift shaft while carer CAROL CONWAY was found semi-conscious with broken ribs, a broken ankle and four fractures in her back while she tried to reverse the wheelchair from the lift of the Cardiff care home. Husband and wife Shirwan and Nasik Al-Mufti, the owners of Pontcanna House in Cardiff, admitted health and safety breaches have been ordered to pay £100,000 in a fine and costs.
JOAN DAWS, 64, was pinned to the wall of the lift by a weighing chair at The Laleham care home in Herne Bay. KCRH Limited ran the home and admitted health and safety failings and has been fined £60,000. The court heard the lift had been installed in 1972 and KCRH chose not to install a safety sensor offered by the lift servicing company that would have halted the lift in the event of a problem. Her daughter, Amanda Fuller, said: "Nothing will bring my mum back" and "Their negligence caused her death and I hope that pains them every day." Her son, Simon Daws, added "It's deeply upsetting to realise that the opportunities were there to stop this accident happening."
LEANNE SHEARER, 21, suffered head, spine and neck injuries after she fell 30ft (9m) down a goods lift shaft at the Krazy House on Wood Street, Liverpool. Nightclub owners Cashnext Ltd admitted failing to ensure the safety of non-employees and were fined £50,000 plus £30,000 costs. The court heard how the cloakroom assistant, who had shouted a warning, ran downstairs with his father and found Ms Shearer lying injured.
HECTOR MACLEAN, 25, a fashion designer, shattered both his legs in a horrific accident at a property owned by RADA in central London, after he leant against a door and plunged more than 20ft down an empty lift shaft. RADA admitted one health and safety breach a and was fined £12,000 and £1,266 costs.
THE NIGHTIGALE NIGHTCLUB, has been fined £10,000 and has had to pay costs of £6,251.15 plus a £120 victim surcharge after an employee fell 13ft down a lift shaft and sustained a broken back. The company pleaded guilty to one offence under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.
JAMES DOUGLAS, 62, of Jedburgh, was working for L S Starrett Company Ltd at its premises in Oxnam Road, Jedburgh, was severely injured when he fell down a lift shaft as he was transporting a loaded cage trolley that landed on top of him. The Jedburgh firm has been fined £3,000 after pleading guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.
ELLICKSON ENGINEERING LTD, has been fined €750,000 over lift collapse at Killarney hotel causing injuries to five family members who were attending a wedding. The lift was installed, and for a time maintained, by Ellickson Engineering Ltd, which went into receivership shortly before the lift collapsed at the Killarney Plaza Hotel on July 9th, 2011. The company was found guilty at Tralee Circuit Criminal Court in March of a single breach of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act over the installation of the lift in and around April 2004.
SOUTHWARK CROWN COURT heard on 17 January 2011 work was being carried out to decommission a lift shaft in a building that was being converted into luxury apartments in the Victoria area, when the chain supporting the lift car broke while two men were working on top of it, causing it to fall to the bottom of the shaft.
MICHAEL DAWSON and DANIEL DIGBY fell 30 metres to their death after they collided with a lift door on the seventh-level landing (14 floors up) during a post-party scuffle at Shirley Towers, Southampton. The door swung open and closed behind them because of inadequate fixings on the lower rail of the opening. Otis Ltd was fined £400,000, plus £145,000 costs.
KEVIN DAWSON died while helping to put three new lift cars into a passenger lift shaft during work to build Terminal 5A at the airport. He was working from a ladder in the shaft’s pit when a colleague used one of the cars to fetch equipment from a higher level. As he did so, a counterweight descended, crushing Dawson. Manufacturing lift firm, Schindler, was fined £300,000 and ordered to pay £169,970 in costs admitted failing to protect employees and others, in breach of the Health and Safety at Work Act.
A COMPANY OPERATING a lift in Tower Bridge which fell and seriously injured four people in 2009 has been told to pay £100,000 due to its "catastrophic failure". The injured suffered broken ankles and legs and one woman is still undergoing operations as a result of the accident. Six others were treated for shock.
ANDREW BATES, 40, was working on a refurbishment of the lift at a surveyors' firm in Mayfair, central London, when he was killed. The court heard Mr Bates screamed as he was caught between the top of the lift where he was working and the top of a fourth floor landing door after damage to a cable had caused the lift to shoot suddenly upwards. J Brown Services Ltd of West Kingsdown, Kent, admitted a charge under health and safety law was ordered to pay £45,000 in a fine and costs at the Old Bailey.
COMPANY FINED after worker suffers hand injuries. PD Lift Services Limited has been fined £36,000 after a worker lost his thumb while working on passenger lifts in north London. Westminster Magistrates Court heard how the worker was replacing the lifts at Tufnell Park underground station. On 26th October 2015, while lowering and guiding weights down the lift void, the load fell and amputated his thumb.
LIFT ENGINEER 37 IS CRUSHED TO DEATH after he falls ten metres down elevator shaft on his first day at work
Lift engineer had been working in Queens House, in Hull, for a few hours. Employees ushered out of offices when whole building began to shake. One of the man’s colleagues said: 'It was absolutely horrific'. The man is believed to be 37 years old and from Doncaster
WOODFORD/LEYTONSTONE: BRAKES TO BLAME FOR LIFT DEATH. A faulty brake system led to the death of a devoted mother who was crushed in a lift accident. Christine Allen was killed when she stepped into a lift and it shot up and trapped her as she tried to escape. Members of her family were at Walthamstow Coroner's Court today where they heard the verdict that Mrs Allen died as the result of an accident.
Below is a short list of lift owners and lift firms that have been prosecuted with their corresponding fines set by the court which is all publically available on the internet, in the news media and from the Health & Safety Executive website. The fines do not take into account other costs such as defending its position with legal advice/counsel, investigatory works, lost production/downtime, negative publicity and the cost to repair/replace the lift equipment (usually with a new lift contractor that is more expensive) to put things right again.
Holmes Places Health Clubs Ltd (Fined £233,000)
Warwick Estates Property Management (Fined £120,000)
Tesco (Fined £115,000)
The Nightingale (Nightclub) (Fined £10,000)
The Burghley House Preservation Trust (Fined £266,000)
Pontcanna House care home (Fined £75,000)
KCRH Limited (Fined £60,000)
RADA (Fined £12,000)
Jarvis (Fined £400,000)
LS Starrett (Fined £3,000)
Wilko Retail Limited (Fined £2,200,000)
Cashnext Ltd (Fined £50,000)
Thyssen Krupp Elevator UK (Fined £233,000)
Temple Lifts (Fined £50,000)
T E Scudder Ltd (Fined £600,000)
Schindler (Fined £300,000)
PD Lift Services Limited (Fined £36,000)
J Brown Services Ltd (Fined £45,000)
Otis (Fined £110,000)
Otis Investments & Otis Ltd (Fined £400,000)
Ellickson Engineering Ltd (Fined €750,000)