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Poorly maintained lifts, put lives at risk

HSE warns of the danger of putting workers at risk by not maintaining lifts

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has warned of the importance of proper maintenance regimes in ensuring worker safety. The warning comes after three maintenance workers were injured when the brakes on a warehouse lift failed and they fell 25 metres.

Procter and Gamble Product Supply (UK) Ltd, of Trafford Park Road, Manchester yesterday pleaded guilty to breaching health and safety law at Trafford Magistrates Court and were fined a total of �40,000 and ordered to pay full costs of �2,738. The case was brought by HSE.

The company was fined �20,000 under both Sections 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 that they failed to ensure the safety of maintenance workers by not adequately maintaining the lift brakes.

The incident happened on 6 July 2006, when three maintenance workers entered a lift, which then descended in an uncontrolled way. One of the workers broke a leg, a second suffered ankle injuries and the third compression injuries.

HSE Inspector Richard Clarke said:

“Failure by the company to ensure that this lift was properly maintained resulted in these three workers suffering injury. Their injuries could have been far worse.

“This incident should serve as a lesson to all companies to ensure that they have proper maintenance regimes to avoid similar incidents in the future. This was a wholly avoidable accident had a proper maintenance regime been in place.”

Notes to editors:

1. Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 states: “It shall be the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all his employees.”

2. Section 3(1) of the Act states: “It shall be the duty of every employer to conduct his undertaking in such a way as to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that persons not in his employment who may be affected thereby are not thereby exposed to risks to their health or safety.”

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