A domestic servant at one of the country’s most famous stately homes was crushed to death by a faulty lift.
Arthur Mellar, 48, worked as a butler at Burghley House in Stamford, which has featured in films like The Da Vinci Code and Pride and Prejudice.
He was trying to remove stuck items from the luggage lift when the lift descended on top of him, during the accident in July 2014.
The luggage lift was being used to lift guests’ bags from the ground to second floor in the private area of Burghley House. One of the bags became jammed causing the lift to stop, Peterborough Crown Court heard.
Mr Mellar tried to free the jammed bags but while doing so the lift descended on him, trapping him between the lift cage and the bannister of the stairwell housing the lift.
Lack of inspection blamed
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive found that the lift hadn’t been fitted with a slack rope detector. The HSE claims that any competent lift engineer would have identified defects with the lift, including a lack of a slack rope detector.
Burghley House Preservation Trust Limited, which runs the home, pleaded guilty to a breach of Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and was fined £266,000 and ordered to pay costs of £16,863.
HSE inspector Alison Ashworth said: “Arthur Mellar was killed when a luggage lift descended on him while he was trying to free an item of luggage. This was a completely avoidable incident, and Burghley House admitted its role in it, but of course that will be little comfort for Mr Mellar’s family.
“I would urge any business using lifts, particularly older lifts such as the one in this case, watching this case to ensure correct measures are taken in relation to maintenance of lifts and that competent lift engineers are employed when necessary to identify defects.”
Source: Health and Safety Executive