Firm fined over worker's lift death
Posted Wed, 09 Jun 2010
A lift company has been found guilty of breaching health and safety laws over the death of a fitter at an office in London.
Andrew Bates was carrying out the refurbishment of a lift in Mayfair, central London on 6 December 2005 when the incident occurred.
While working on the top of the lift, a damaged cable caused it to shoot upwards, and the 40-year-old was crushed to death.
At the Old Bailey, his employer J Brown Services, of West Kingsdwon, Kent, admitted a charge under health and safety law. It was fined £45,000.
Richard Tutt, prosecuting, said: "At 2.45pm a scream was heard coming from the lift shaft and Mr Bates was found trapped between the top of the lift car and the top of the landing door on the fourth floor."
Firefighters managed to release Mr Bates but he did not respond to treatment and was pronounced dead later that afternoon, the court heard.
Investigators discovered that he had been using a hand-held controller to operate the lift while carrying out routine installation work.
But a cable from the controller snagged on a bolt in the lift shaft causing it to break and two of the wires to short, leading to an "unexpected upward movement".
"This movement could not then be stopped from Mr Bates's position on the top of the car," said Mr Tutt.
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