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Otis fined £240k for faulty escalator

Lift maker Otis and a subcontractor have received penalties totalling almost £300,000 following an incident involving a faulty escalator which led to a member of the public injuring her leg.

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In October 2013, Otis and Complete Escalator Services were carrying out maintenance work on an escalator in a shopping centre in Welwyn Garden City but put it back into operation with a step missing.

A 23-year-old woman caught her leg in the gap where the step should have been and sustained serious injuries.

Both companies were prosecuted for breaches under Section 3 of the Health and Safety at Work Act. Their failings included not ensuring adequate liaison between the contractor and subcontractor’s onsite teams, allowing staff with no appropriate training to undertake the work, being unclear as to who was supervising the work onsite, and failure to complete simple checks before returning the escalator to service.

The case was investigated and brought by Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council. Otis was fined £240,000 and ordered to pay costs of £20,202, while Complete Escalator Services was fined £13,000 and £11,332 in costs.

A representative for Otis said it had introduced procedures to strengthen the working relationship between Otis and its subcontractors. A manager now monitors all working permits issued to subcontractors.

 

Keeley Downey is acting deputy editor of IOSH Magazine. She is a former editor of Biofuels International, Bioenergy Insight and Tank Cleaning Magazine

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