Butler at historic home dies in lift accident due to lack of inspections

All lifts which carry goods or people should be checked on a regular basis, 12 monthly for those lifts carrying goods and 6 monthly for those which carry people.  These tests are required by law and must be completed – they’re known as statutory tests.

Burghley House Preservation Trust Limited in Stamford employed Arthur Mellar as a butler and he was crushed to death by a lift  in July 2014 when it became stuck after one of the bags became jammed.

The lift had not been fitted with a slack rope detector and this was identified by the competent person after its examination. Had the lift been examined by a competent person earlier the engineer should have identified that this needed to be fitted.

The Trust pleaded guilty to a breach of Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and were today fined £266,000 and ordered to pay costs of £16,863.

Speaking after the sentencing, HSE inspector Alison Ashworth said:

“Arthur Mellar was killed when a luggage lift descended on him while he was trying to free an item of luggage. This was a completely avoidable incident, and Burghley House admitted its role in it, but of course that will be little comfort for Mr Mellar’s family.

I would urge any business using lifts, particularly older lifts such as the one in this case, watching this case to ensure correct measures are taken in relation to maintenance of lifts and that competent lift engineers are employed when necessary to identify defects.”

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