Care Home fined £50,000 after worker fell down lift shaft

A privately owned care home in Scotland has been fined after an employee sustained severe injuries following a fall from height.

Kilmarnock Sheriff Court heard that the lift shaft at Abbotsford Nursing Home in Ardrossan had stopped between the upper and lower floors. A lift engineer attended and told the Director there was an issue with the access platform but that, as before, a screwdriver could be used to facilitate opening the door of the lift.

Woodbay Limited allowed its employees to continue to use the lift in these circumstances. An employee used a screwdriver to open the lift on 9 July 2015, she intended entering the lift backwards, and in doing so fell approximately four metres to the ground as the platform had not been brought up to the landing.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive led to a prohibition notice being served on the operation of the lift by use of the screwdriver to override the door locking mechanism when the lift was still faulty but energised. While the access platform was defective and awaiting a new part, the access platform was not safe to use.

Woodbay Limited, which operates Abbotsford Nursing Home, of Eglinton Road, Ardrossan pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work and was fined £50,000.

Speaking after the hearing HSE inspector, Russell Berry said: “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.”

By Patrick Mooney, editor