NuGen Properties

Lift mechanic crushed to death

Lift mechanic crushed to death


the lift shaft wall
the lift shaft wall

Lift Monitoring Systems Limited, previously known as RJ Lift Services Limited, was fined £200,000 on Monday following a Health & Safety Executive (HSE) investigation into the death of 24-year-old lift mechanic Lewis McFarlin.

Lewis McFarlin was fatally crushed when attempting to repair a goods lift at the Market Drayton factory of Muller Yogurt & Desserts on 14th January 2020.

He and two other lift mechanics 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 he was already dead by the time the emergency services arrived at the scene.

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

Lewis McFarlin
Lewis McFarlin

Lift Monitoring Systems Limited, formerly known as RJ Lift Services Limited, of Galveston Grove, Oldfield Business Park, Stoke-On-Trent, Staffordshire, pleaded guilty to failing to discharge the duty imposed upon it by Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The company was fined £200,000 at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court on 27th November 2023. Costs will be decided at a later date.

Muller was not prosecuted by HSE.

HSE inspector Andrew Johnson said: “This tragic and entirely preventable incident led to the loss of a much loved son. The risks associated with working on lifts and the necessary safety measures were well-known to the company.

“Sadly, in this case, the employer failed to meet its responsibilities to put in place simple and well established reasonably practicable measures such as covering the void in which Lewis became trapped in. Had the company fulfilled its duties, this tragic incident simply would not have happened.”

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