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January 24, 2014

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Firm fined after worker fell down lift shaft


A lift engineer was severely injured when he fell down a lift shaft at a hospital construction site in Cambridge.
Terry Moore, 51, from Wisbech suffered fractures to his left foot, shoulder, lower spine and pelvis, and was unable to work for several months as a result of the incident at Rosie Maternity Hospital, part of Addenbrooke’s, on 29 March 2012.
Belfast-based Farrans (Construction) Ltd was prosecuted on 23 January after an HSE investigation found that guardrails placed across the entrance to the lift shaft did not meet the statutory height requirement.
Cambridge Magistrates’ Court heard that Mr Moore, an experienced lift engineer, was working on the uppermost floor of the new three-storey annex under construction, and was preparing the lift shaft ahead of a lift installation. 
He was about to bring up further equipment from a floor below when he fell into the lift shaft and plunged some nine metres. He was discovered at the bottom of the shaft by a sub-contractor working nearby.
HSE’s investigation found that the guardrails placed across the entrance to the upper floor shaft were 908mm high and did not meet a long-standing regulatory requirement. The regulations state that the top guardrail should be at least 950mm above the edge from which a person is liable to fall.
The court heard that although it could not be proven that the height discrepancy was a causative factor in the fall, it was a serious safety failing.
Farrans (Construction) Ltd of Kingsway, Dunmurry, Belfast, was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay £5,225 in costs after pleading guilty to regulation 8(a) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005.
Following the hearing, HSE inspector John Berezansky, said: “Farrans (Construction) failed to implement a well-known industry standard regarding the height of the barriers across the lift shaft entrance.
“This standard has been in place for a considerable number of years, and it clearly states that the top guard rail must be at least 950mm above the edge from which any person is liable to fall. That is an absolute requirement and the onus is on employers to ensure this standard is met at all times.
“Construction work is a high-risk activity where falls account for a large proportion of all deaths and serious injuries. The end result here is that Mr Moore, an experienced engineer, sustained horrific injuries and could easily have been killed.”

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Bob Kennedy
Bob Kennedy
10 years ago

Having failed to establish the causation the HSE opted for an easy nick.

How eactly does this prosecution prevent recurrence, no explanation was established as to how or why an experineced engineer fell 9m.

Why is it acceptable to have continuos fall distances of such depth?

I have seen far higher lift shafts guarded in such manner.

Why not securely close off the opening and why when building the shaft are temporary fall decks not considerd?

Don`t recall that in WAH G

10 years ago

65 years ago my father fell down a lift shaft in Belfast on a construction project when he was an apprentice electrician.