Passenger lifts and escalators – Bolton resident dies in lift shaft fall

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Bolton resident dies in lift shaft fall

A property management company has been fined after a resident of an apartment block in Bolton died after falling down a lift shaft.

Bolton Crown Court heard how the resident and a friend were trapped in a lift and unable to raise the alarm. They attempted a self-rescue by forcing the doors open and sliding out onto the floor below.

The resident slipped under the lift car and fell five stories down the lift shaft and died of multiple injuries. His friend escaped unhurt.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into the incident which occurred in August 2014 found that the management company for the building failed to take suitable and sufficient steps to prevent the resident and his friend self-rescuing.

The management company pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, and was fined £120,000 and ordered to pay costs of £45,000.

Speaking after the hearing HSE inspector Sarah Taylor said: “Those who manage lifts have a responsibility to ensure they are properly maintained but if people are trapped they have a way to raise the alarm and are not in a position to try and rescue themselves.

“The problems with this lift were well known and if [the management company] had fulfilled their health and safety responsibilities [the resident] would probably be around to celebrate Christmas with his family this weekend.”

Passenger lifts and escalators

Lifts provided for use by workers in workplaces are subject to the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations (LOLER). However, in most cases lifting equipment which is not provided for, or used by, people at work (eg stair lifts in private dwellings and platform lifts in shops used for customer access) will not be subject to either LOLER or PUWER. But businesses providing this equipment will have responsibilities for its safety (it will require routine maintenance and inspection).

LOLER does not apply to escalators or any travelators / moving walkways which transport people, even though they may ‘lift’ people from one level to another. Such equipment is covered by regulation 19 of the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations.

However, escalators and similar machines, platform and stair lifts, and all conventional passenger lifts must meet the requirements for safety and conformity of either the Machinery or Lift Directives in their design, construction and installation, when first brought into use. (Note: stair lifts, certain slow moving platform lifts (less that 0.15 m/s) and construction hoists come within scope of the Machinery Directive instead of the Lifts Directive).

Passenger lifts used by people at work

Passenger lifts and combined goods / passenger lifts in workplaces (eg offices and factories) which are primarily used by people at work, are subject to periodic thorough examination and inspection, as required by LOLER and PUWER. Guidance for lift owners and others responsible for the examination and testing of lifts is available in: Thorough examination and testing of lifts: Simple guidance for lift owners (http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg339.htm)

Passenger lifts used by people who are not at work

LOLER (and PUWER) may not apply where a passenger lift is not used by people at work (eg in public areas of a shopping centre). However, if the lift is operated by – or to some extent under the control of – an employer or self-employed person in connection with their business, they still have some responsibility for the health and safety of people they don’t employ. This includes members of the public who use the lift and those people who may work on or inspect the lift.

Section 3 of the Health and Safety at Work Act imposes these general responsibilities, so far as reasonably practicable. As the risks may be the same as when using lifts in connection with work, a similar regime of maintenance, inspection and examination to that required under LOLER and PUWER may be entirely ‘reasonably practicable’ in managing the risks. In any case, insurers may impose demands for similarly stringent levels of risk management to cover public liability.

Escalators and moving walkways

Guidelines for the safe operation of escalators and moving walks (walkways) have been prepared by the Safety Assessment Federation in consultation with HSE. This document provides considerable guidance on the duties and responsibilities of those who:

  • manufacture, supply and install escalators and moving walkways
  • design premises where they are to be installed
  • own or manage premises in which they are installed, and
  • inspect and examine escalators and moving walkways

Although not subject to LOLER, these detailed guidelines recommend thorough examination of escalators and moving walkways, normally at six-monthly intervals.

Stair lifts:

Where provided as work equipment for use by employees, stair lifts will be subject to the requirements of LOLER (thorough examination) and PUWER (maintenance and inspection). Where they are not, but are still provided in connection with an undertaking (eg in work environments where the public or visitors may use them), employers and the self-employed will have responsibilities for the safety of all users under Section 3 of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974. These may be adequately discharged by undertaking maintenance, and inspection, and 6 monthly thorough examination, even though PUWER & LOLER may not apply to the equipment.

However, all new stair lifts (either when first placed on the market, or first brought into use), as machinery are subject to the Machinery Directive / Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations 2008. They must be constructed to be safe, supplied with Instructions, a Declaration of Conformity and CE marking. Those stair lifts which involve a hazard of falling from a vertical height of 3m or more are subject to Annex IV (item 17) of the Machinery Directive (so subject to conformity assessment as required by Article 12 (3) or 12 (4) of 2006/42/EC).

More information on LOLER can be found on the LOLER FAQ page: http://www.hse.gov.uk/work-equipment-machinery/faq-lifting.htm

For more information visit the HSE web page: http://www.hse.gov.uk/work-equipment-machinery/passenger-lifts.htm or contact us on 07896 016380 or at fiona@eljay.co.uk, and we’ll be happy to help. We carry out health and safety inspections (as well as fire/legionella risk assessments) of all types of residential and commercial properties and are happy to provide a no-obligation quotation on request.

Contains public sector information published by the Health and Safety Executive and licensed under the Open Government Licence

 

 

Questions you need to ask if you employ contractors – three prosecuted after man loses life due to fall through fragile roof

We hope you find our news updates useful. If you know of anyone who may benefit from reading them, please encourage them to register at the bottom-left of our news page (http://www.eljay.co.uk/news/) and we’ll email them a link each time an update is published. If in the unlikely event any difficulties are experienced whilst registering we’ll be more than happy to help and can be contacted on 07896 016380 or at Fiona@eljay.co.uk

Three prosecuted after man loses life due to fall through fragile roof

A company, its director, and a self-employed contractor have been prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), after a man was fatally injured by falling through a roof light.

Warrington Crown Court heard how in June 2013, the man was working with his friend. They were cleaning roof lights on the roof of a building at a Cheshire industrial estate.  The man fell approximately 7m through a roof light to the work-shop floor underneath, and subsequently died.  Both the roof and the roof lights were not able to support the weight of a person.

The HSE investigation found that his friend, who primarily was a gardener and not a roofer, did not take precautions to prevent a fall through the roof, nor off its edge. He did not have the necessary knowledge or competence to carry out the work.

The company failed to have adequate systems in place to ensure a competent roofer was appointed. Both the company and its director failed to adequately plan and supervise the work, due to their own lack of understanding of standards and the law relating to work on fragile roofs.

The company pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4(1) and Regulation 5 of the Work at Height Regulations 2005, and were fined £20,000 with more than £8,000 costs.

The company’s director pleaded guilty to breaching two counts of Section 37 of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. He was sentenced to four months imprisonment on each count (suspended for 12 months) and was ordered to pay more than £8,000 costs.

At a recent hearing, the man’s friend pleaded guilty to breaching section 3(2) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. He was sentenced to six months imprisonment (suspended for 12 months) and was ordered to pay more than £8,000 costs.

An HSE inspector said after the hearing that if the company and its director had asked questions about the man’s friend’s experience and knowledge (of roof work standards), they would not have employed him. “He should have recognised he was not competent and should not have carried out the work. With these simple considerations, [the man] would not have been on the roof and would not have died in the way he did.”

Do you employ contractors?

If you employ contractors, you have a legal duty to make sure they are competent to do the work you want them to do.

Questions you need to ask

Their experience:

  • What experience do they have in the type of work?
  • Can they provide references? You may want to check these.

Their competence:

  • Do the contractor’s employees hold relevant certificates of competence? (e.g. chainsaw use, tree climbing and aerial rescue, chippers, MEWPs?)
  • Are they a member of a trade or professional body? (e.g. the Arboricultural Association, International Society of Arboriculture, Forestry Contracting Association)
  • What is their safety performance like? (e.g. accident records)?
  • Can they provide examples of methods of work, risk assessments or other documentation to show they are familiar with the type of work?

Their management arrangements:

  • What are their procedures for managing health and safety?
  • Do they properly plan and organise work at height? (e.g. use of MEWP v climbing)
  • Will the work be sub-contracted and if so, how will they control it?
  • How do they supervise and manage their site work?
  • What Codes of Practice or standards will the contractor be working to e.g. AFAG safety guides, Guide to good climbing practice
  • Do they provide employees with the correct personal protective equipment? How do they monitor and check their own safety standards?
  • How do they inspect and check their equipment (owned or hired) e.g. as required by the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations
  • Do they have employers’ liability, public liability and professional indemnity insurance?
  • Are they asking you about your risks or needs?

The more complex and potentially dangerous the activities, the more likely it is that the answers and information will need to be recorded. As the client, you will be responsible for checking that any contractor you appoint is competent to do the work safely.

Once you have selected a competent contractor, you will need to exchange information and agree the method of work. Both will need to be done before work starts. Pre-work meetings are a good way of ensuring that the work is properly planned and controlled. Finally, you will also need to monitor the work.

For more information, download the free HSE leaflet “Using contractors – A brief guide”: http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg368.pdf or contact us on 07896 016380 or at fiona@eljay.co.uk, and we’ll be happy to help.

Contains public sector information published by the Health and Safety Executive and licensed under the Open Government Licence