Two companies, Anders Development Limited and J A Ball Limited, have been fined after a worker was found seriously injured in a lift shaft.
South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court heard how, on 8 March 2016, Dorin Samson, who was working for Anders Development Limited, had been tasked, along with at least one other worker, to dismantle a lift in the former office block at 50 Fawcett Street, Sunderland. In the early afternoon of 8 March 2016, Mr Samson who was working in the lift shaft, suffered devastating life-changing injuries. Examination of the lift by the HSE’s specialist inspectors found that it was most likely Mr Samson was struck by the lift’s falling counterweight and/or falling lift suspension ropes.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the method of work used by Anders Development Limited to dismantle the lift was unsafe and that the company had failed to take account of the stored energy in the lifts counterweight and ropes. They had also failed to adequately plan the work and the company and its workers did not have the knowledge and experience to plan and dismantle the lift.
The investigation also found the principal contractor for this construction project, J A Ball Limited, had failed to adequately plan and manage the dismantling of the lift and they had engaged a contractor to dismantle the lift who did not have the skills, knowledge and experience to carry out the work.
The sentence was passed by the judge after the hearing on 10 October 2018.
Anders Development Limited of City Lofts St. Pauls, St. Pauls Square, Sheffield, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) and Section 3(1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and was fined £100,000 for each offence with £2720 costs.
J A Ball Limited of Unit 2, Telford Way, Stephenson Industrial Estate, Coalville, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 13(1) of The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 and was fined £200,000 with £2744 costs.
After the hearing, HSE inspector Zoe Wood said: “Demolition and dismantling on lifts must be planned by persons with knowledge of the principles and operating modes of the specific lift machine, its related safety features and the means by which it is incorporated into the structure of the building. All of these matters will help determine the most suitable method of work for the dismantling/demolition activity.
“Consideration must be given to the effect any work will have on the structure of the building the lift is housed in. The method of work should take into account suspended masses and stored energy in the counter weights, lift cars, ropes etc.”