Lift maintenance company fined after engineer fatally crushed

A lift maintenance company has been fined after an employee died while working at a factory run by Muller Yogurt and Desserts.

Lift Monitoring Systems Limited, previously known as RJ Lift Services Limited, was fined £200,000 on Monday following a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation into the death of 24-year-old Lewis McFarlin, a lift engineer employed by the Staffordshire company.  Muller was not prosecuted by HSE.

Mr McFarlin and two other lift engineers at Lift Monitoring Systems were on site to work on a different lift before being asked to resolve an issue with the door-opening mechanism on one of the lift landing doors.

While attempting to resolve the issue, Mr McFarlin was on top of the lift car with one engineer in the lift itself and the other outside on the landing. The lift had been placed in inspection mode enabling Mr McFarlin to control the lift from the lift’s rooftop. This mode enabled him to assist his colleague, inside the lift, to rectify the issue.

As the work progressed, the lift unexpectedly shifted from inspection mode to normal mode while Mr McFarlin was still on top. This sudden transition caused the lift to move at its normal speed, trapping him in a void between the lift car and the structural elements of the lift shaft.  Mr McFarlin’s colleagues tried to release him but were unable to. He had already lost his life by the time the emergency services arrived at the scene.

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found that there was a failure to cover the void in which Lewis became trapped. Had the void been sheeted, the incident could not have happened.

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