• Robert Spicer

Health and safety horrors: lift shaft nightmares


Lift crushing death: stately home operator fined

Arthur Mellar, a butler, was killed in July 2014 when a luggage lift descended on him. The luggage lift was being used to lift guests’ bags from the ground to the second floor of the house of the Burghley House stately home in Stamford, operated by Burghley House Preservation Trust Ltd. A bag became jammed and the lift stopped. Mellar tried to free the bag when the lift descended and crushed him, causing fatal injuries.The lift had not been fitted with a slack rope detector. An assessment of the lift would have shown that the lift should have been thoroughly examined and tested. A competent lift engineer would have identified defects with the lift.


Lift shaft fall death

In January 2011 work was being carried out on the decommissioning of a lift shaft in a building being converted into flats in the Victoria area of London. The chain supporting the lift car broke while two men were working on it. The car fell six storeys to the bottom of the shaft. One worker was wearing a safety harness and was seriously injured. The other was not wearing a safety harness and was killed. Planning and management of the project was inadequate in relation to work at height and the lift decommissioning work.

Lift shaft fall death

Craig Jones, a resident of Marsden House in Bolton, was trapped in a lift at the premises and was unable to raise the alarm. He attempted to self-rescue by forcing the lift doors open and sliding out onto the floor below. He slipped and fell five storeys down the lift shaft, suffering fatal injuries.Warwick Estates Property Management Ltd, as management company of the building, had failed to take suitable and sufficient steps to prevent the deceased from self-rescuing. An HSE inspector commented after the case that the problems with the lift were well-known. Those who manage lifts have a responsibility to ensure that if people are trapped they have a way to raise the alarm and are not in a position to try to rescue themselves.

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