Head Of Training, The Healthy Work Company

February 25, 2016

Get the SHP newsletter

Daily health and safety news, job alerts and resources

Companies fined after woman gets leg trapped in escalator

Multinational lift maker Otis has been fined £240,000 after a 23-year-old woman was seriously injured when her leg became trapped in an escalator because a step had not been replaced during maintenance work. The incident happened at the Howard Centre mall in Welwyn Garden City in October 2013. Sub-contractor Complete Escalator Services Ltd was also fined £13,000.

It was heard in court how the woman fell into the gap left by the missing step and was carried to the top of the escalator. She managed to free one of her legs but the other became caught between the step and the comb plate, which snapped on impact. She was trapped for around 20 minutes.

Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council, prosecuted both companies for health and safety failings which included not ensuring adequate liaison between the contractor and subcontractor’s on site teams, allowing staff with no appropriate training to undertake the work, being unclear as to who was supervising the work on site and failure to complete simple checks prior returning the escalator to service.

Otis Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act. At St Albans Crown Court it was fined £240,000 and ordered to pay costs of £20,202.

Complete Escalator Services was fined £13,000 with £11,332 costs after pleading guilty to breaching the same section of the act.

Commenting on the case Councillor Roger Trigg, Executive Member for Governance and Public Health, said: “Our thoughts remain with the injured person following what was a very complicated and time-consuming investigation, and I’d like to thank our team for their hard work in bringing this case to court.”

Cllr Trigg continued: “There is often a lot of negative press coverage about health and safety issues, but this case and the resulting prosecution illustrates that courts take real health and safety seriously, and that the council will take a proportionate action where workers or the public are put at risk. We will prosecute companies who fail to fulfil their duties regarding health and safety in the workplace.”

In mitigation a representative for Otis Ltd stated that the director of the company wanted to publicly apologise to the injured party. They added that steps had been taken to strengthen the working relationship between themselves and sub-contractors. This had included an Otis manager monitoring all working permits issued to sub-contractors.

Representative for Complete Escalator Services Ltd stated that the company was extremely apologetic for what had happened and that the director now personally supervised all work undertaken by his company.

The Safety Conversation Podcast: Listen now!

The Safety Conversation with SHP (previously the Safety and Health Podcast) aims to bring you the latest news, insights and legislation updates in the form of interviews, discussions and panel debates from leading figures within the profession.

Find us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Google Podcasts, subscribe and join the conversation today!

Related Topics

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments