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UK HSE: worker fell into lift shaft – safety controls bypassed

What happened?

The UK HSE prosecuted a company after a 34-year-old employee was moving a loaded lift trolley in the tool department of a hangar when he fell into the lift shaft to the bottom floor and suffered life-changing injuries. See here for HSE press release.

What were the causes? What went wrong?

Although the exact cause of the incident could not be established, the HSE investigation found that the lift doors had a fault which meant that they defaulted to locked. As a result, the emergency door release key was being routinely used by employees to bypass the fault and therefore the lift’s safety devices. (IMCA italics)

The HSE inspector said:

“Despite a fault, busy workers who were moving parts and tools felt compelled to keep the lift in use. The safety features of the lift were therefore made redundant. The lift should have been taken out of service or an alternative system of work should have been in place, and this should have been communicated.”

Members may also be interested in the IOGP Life-saving rules report 459.

Members may wish to refer to:

Safety Event

Published: 15 April 2020
Download: IMCA SF 13/20

Relevant life-saving rules:
IMCA Safety Flashes
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