Worker loses leg after staircase lift fails

12 July 2019 | By Neil Gerrard

A construction worker’s leg was amputated just below the groin after a 1.7t section of industrial staircase fell and trapped him, a court has heard.

Leyton Group Construction, which specialises in the manufacture and installation of industrial staircases has been fined £14,000 in relation to the incident, which took place on a site at Fenchurch Avenue in London last year.

Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard that on 19 July 2018 Dragos Sultana suffered serious injuries when the staircase section fell on him. It was being lifted into position when one of the fabric slings supporting the load failed, causing one side of the staircase to drop strike Sultana.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that Leyton Group Construction failed to properly plan the lifting operation. The lift plan was not specific to the job and the method statement lacked the level of detail required about the load, how it should be slung and how it should be lifted. This resulted in the slings being stretched across the sharp metal edges of the staircase stringers, which caused a shearing action and ultimate failure of one the slings.

Leyton Group Construction Ltd of Swinborne Road, Basildon pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 8 (1) of the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER) was fined £14,000 and ordered to pay costs of £7,227.14.

HSE principal inspector Tania van Rixtel said: “The method employed for lifting the staircase was unsafe. This case highlights the need for duty holders to properly plan all lifting operations before work is carried out to manage the risk of injury to workers. 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.”

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