Firms fined for worker’s 35ft lift fall

June 11, 2024

Firms fined for worker’s 35ft lift fall

Two companies have been fined after an electrician fell 35ft (10m) head first when a crane knocked him out of his lift cage.

The worker was repairing light fittings at Expert Tooling and Automation Ltd in Coventry when he was knocked out of his scissor lift cage by a crane being operated by another worker nearby.

The 52-year-old from Sheffield fell onto the factory floor leaving him with a fractured skull and many other injuries.

His employer, Optilight Electrical Services Ltd, and Expert Tooling and Automation admitted breaches of health and safety legislation and were fined £7,000 and £50,000 respectively.

The worker operating the overhead crane on 21 September 2022 did not see the electrician in the lift and the collision caused it to twist and hit nearby racking before landing on the factory floor, the HSE said, adding that a second employee from Optilight Electrical Services narrowly avoided being crushed by the scissor lift, jumping out of the way before it landed on the floor.

The electrician sustained a fractured skull, two brain bleeds, a broken collarbone, eight broken ribs, a broken elbow and wrist as well as a punctured lung. He was later placed in an induced coma and underwent several operations.

The HSE found Optilight Electrical Services had not identified the operation of overhead cranes as a risk to its employees working at height at Expert Tooling and Automation’s site on Sayer Drive.

Expert Tooling and Automation did not put procedures in place to prevent the use of overhead cranes while the work was taking place and relied on contractors identifying risks and implementing measures.

Both companies did not communicate with each other about how the work they were undertaking could impact safety, the HSE added.

Expert Tooling and Automation pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act and Optilight Electrical Services Limited, of Oakwood Road, Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, admitted breaching Section 2.

Both firms were also ordered to pay 1,985 in costs.

HSE inspector Charlotte Cunniffe said: “This case clearly illustrates the disastrous consequences that can occur when two companies each assume the other has taken responsibility for safe working practices. Risk often arises through a failure to communicate effectively.”

BBC News
May 2024

Our Comment

Scissor lifts provide a safe and reliable platform for workers to perform job tasks when used according to the manufacturer’s instructions. However, when not used properly, scissor lifts can present a serious hazard to workers.

Here are some key points regarding scissor lift safety controls:

  1. Competent Person: Before using a scissor lift, it’s essential to have a competent person who is adequately trained to make informed decisions regarding its correct use and operation. This includes considering factors like weather, terrain, obstacles, operator experience, lift capability, and required personal protective equipment (PPE).
  2. Fall Protection Hierarchy: When choosing work equipment, follow the fall protection hierarchy. This prioritizes protective measures to prevent and mitigate risks when working at height. Scissor lifts (Mobile Elevated Work Platforms or MEWPs) should be selected based on this hierarchy.
  3. PUWER Regulations: The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER) require preventing or controlling risks associated with using equipment at work. For mobile work equipment like MEWPs, minimizing overturning risks is crucial, considering ground, environmental, and operating conditions.
  4. LOLER Regulations: The Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER) mandate that all lifting operations be planned by a competent person. Equipment used for lifting or lowering loads (including MEWPs) must be of adequate strength, stability, and thoroughly examined at regular intervals.

Safety Features: Scissor lifts come equipped with various safety features, such as emergency lowering systems, guardrails, overload sensors, and emergency stop buttons. Regular maintenance and testing of these features ensure their effectiveness

Scisor lift

Contact

At William Martin, we bring unparalleled health & safety expertise and powerful technology to the table. Whatever your sector and wherever you are, we give you the support you need to keep compliant, strong, and successful.

This content has been produced in association with our sister company, Barbour.

For all enquiries, please contact us or call our team on 0203 819 8829.

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