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Care Home fined when worker severely injured after falling down a lift shaft

A privately owned care home has today been fined after an employee sustained severe injuries following a fall from height.

Kilmarnock Sheriff Court heard that on 9 July 2015 the lift shaft at Abbotsford Nursing Home had stopped between the upper and lower floor. A lift engineer attended and told the Director there was an issue with the access platform but that, as before, a screwdriver could be used to facilitate opening the door of the lift. 

Woodbay allowed its employees to continue to use the lift in these circumstances. An employee used a screwdriver to open the lift, she intended entering the lift backwards, and in doing so fell approximately four metres to the ground as the platform had not been brought up to the landing.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) led to a prohibition notice being served on the operation of the lift by use of the screwdriver to override the door locking mechanism when the lift was still faulty but energised. Whilst the access platform was defective and awaiting a new part, the access platform was not safe to use.

Woodbay Limited, which operates Abbotsford Nursing Home, of Eglinton Road, Ardrossan pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work and has been fined £50,000.

Speaking after the hearing HSE inspector, Russell Berry said:

“This incident could so easily have been avoided by simply carrying out correct control measures and safe working practices.

“Companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.”

Notes to Editors:

  1. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is Britain's national regulator for workplace health and safety. We seek to prevent work-related death, injury and ill health through regulatory actions that range from influencing behaviours across whole industry sectors through to targeted interventions on individual businesses. These activities are supported by globally recognised scientific expertise.
  2. Further information is available about the legislation referred to in this case.
  3. Latest HSE press releases.
Updated: 2018-12-24