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Terminal 5 Death Results in almost £470,000 Fine and Costs

Posted by Tracy Seward

Isleworth Crown Court has heard the case, in which an employee was crushed to death while installing a passenger list at Heathrow’s T5 building.

Schindler Ltd has been fined £300,000 for safety failings following Kevin Dawson’s death, during the massive construction project in 2007. Mr Dawson’s ladder was struck and he was killed by the heavy counterweight when he was working within the pit of a lift shaft, into which he and other Schindler employees were installing three new lift cars.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) revealed the unfinished passenger lift was used to carry workers, tools and materials despite missing key safety-critical components.
HSE also discovered further failings including ineffective radio and telephone communications and workers routinely communicated by shouting up and down the lift shaft. This was potentially confusing while others were working in adjacent shafts.

Schindler had not identified the risk of impact or crushing from moving lift parts and therefore failed to plan, organise or supervise activity to control and prevent this risk.
The HSE investigation concluded that Schindler Ltd ultimately failed in its duty of care in allowing unsafe working practices to continue.

The company pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) and Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and Regulation 8(1) of the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 in relation to the incident

In addition to the £300,000 fine for the three breaches, Schindler Ltd was also ordered to pay £169,970 in costs.

HSE Principal Inspector Norman Macritchie said:
“Kevin Dawson’s death is a wake-up call for all involved in the installation and maintenance of lifts. His death was entirely preventable, and we need to ensure that nobody else suffers the same fate.”
“It is hard to overstate the potential for death or serious injury arising from moving machinery, electricity and working at height – all of which are everyday risks in this industry.”
“Lift shafts by their very nature are confined and often poorly-lit places, where heavy components can move suddenly, silently and without warning. Due to planning and extreme care must be taken at all times. It was not on this occasion and life was needlessly lost as a result.”

March 2012

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