• Robert Spicer

Stately home butler crushed to death by lift: £266,000 fine for employer

Lift crushing death: stately home operator fined £266,000

Health and Safety Executive v Burghley House Preservation Trust Ltd (2017) Peterborough Crown Court, February 27

Statutory reference: S.2 of the Health and Safety at Work, etc., Act 1974 (HSWA).

Burghley House Preservation Trust Ltd, the operator of the Burghley House stately home in Stamford, has been fined after an employee was crushed to death by a lift.

The facts

· 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. 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.

The decision

The company was fined £266,000 plus £16,800 costs under s.2 HSWA for failing to ensure the health and safety of employees.

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