A worker was seriously injured after falling two metres down a lift shaft before the 519kg loaded cage trolley he was moving landed on top of him, magistrates heard.
The LS Starrett Company Ltd, which he was working for at Jedburgh in the Scottish Borders, was fined £3,000 after admitting it breached the Health and Safety at Work Act.
Worker fell two metres
Jedburgh Sheriff Court heard that James Douglas, who had worked for the firm for 46 years, had the accident at work in June 2013.
He fell, the court heard, after losing his balance while looking down the shaft to see if anyone was using it after finding the lift gates were open.
Mr Douglas fell on to a platform two metres below before the cage fell on top of him, leaving him trapped until co-workers at the factory arrived to rescue him.
The court heard Mr Douglas, who was 62 at the time of the accident, suffered severe fractures to his right hip and had to undergo surgery to put four screws into it.
‘Accident was avoidable’
He also suffered tissue damage to his sciatic nerve, a fractured heel and injuries to his knees and lower legs.
An investigation carried out by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found, the court heard, that had the firm conducted a suitable risk assessment, it would have realised that the lift gates could be open at the upper level when the platform was below, exposing workers to the risk of falling.
Following the incident, the court was told, the company had prohibited the use of the lift and similar ones at the factory until it had carried out an internal investigation.
It had then installed interlocks and sensor switches on the lift shafts’ access gates to stop them being open if the platform was not in the right position.
Speaking after the court hearing HSE inspector Norman Buchanan said had the firm recognised the risk and installed interlocks and sensors earlier then the accident could have been easily avoided.
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