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Work Accident Employer’s Negligence Engineer’s Death

Employer’s Negligence Leads to Engineer’s Death, A lift engineer at Kevin Dawson lost his life in an accident at work while installing a passenger lift at Heathrow. The 45 year old was working on the construction of Terminal 5A when the ladder he was working on was struck by a heavy counterweight, killing him instantly. The accident took place on October 27, 2007.

An investigation into the mishap carried out by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) revealed that Dawson was working from a ladder that was placed inside the pit of a lift shaft. It was the same shaft where the new lift cars were being installed. Another colleague was using one of the cars to transport equipment when a heavy counterweight fell on Dawson, crushing him to death.

Further probing revealed that workers, tools and materials were carried out in the unfinished lift despite it missing key safety-critical components. Also, the radio and telephone facilities used for communication between workers were also in poor condition. The workers had to resort to shouting up and down the lift shaft, as others worked in nearby shafts, as a result. Additionally, there was no planning, organization or supervision from the employers to prevent the risk of an accident.

In their report, the HSE declared that the company had failed in its duty of care by permitting unsafe working conditions. According to Norman Macritchie, principal inspector, HSE, “Kevin Dawson’s death is a wake-up call for all involved in the installation and maintenance of lifts. His death was entirely preventable, and we need to ensure that nobody else suffers the same fate.”

Commenting on the use of heavy machinery at work he said, “”It is hard to overstate the potential for death or serious injury arising from moving machinery, electricity and working at height – all of which are everyday risks in this industry. Lift shafts by their very nature are confined and often poorly-lit places, where heavy components can move suddenly, silently and without warning. Due planning and extreme care must be taken at all times. It wasn’t on this occasion and a life was needlessly lost as a result.”

The employers, lift manufactures Schindler Ltd. were found guilty of three breaches of work safety and have been fined £300,000 as a work accident claim. Additionally, they were also ordered to pay £170,000 in costs, at Isleworth Crown Court on Friday, March 30 for work accident compensation claims.


Source: Read more HSE

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