South Scotland

Jedburgh lift shaft fall: Firm fined after worker seriously injured

A Jedburgh factory has been fined £3,000 after a worker was seriously injured in a lift shaft fall.

Tool packer James Douglas, 62, severely fractured his right hip and heel in the accident in 2013.

Jedburgh Sheriff Court heard a loaded cage trolley landed on top of him after the fall and he also damaged his sciatic nerve, knees and lower legs.

The LS Starrett Company was fined £3,000 over safety failings.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that Mr Douglas initially lost his balance and fell down a lift shaft, landing on a platform two meters below.

A loaded cage weighing 519kg (82st) then fell on top of him, trapping him from the top of his legs to his feet until colleagues arrived to free him.

The court heard the US-based firm immediately prohibited the use of all table lifts in the factory until a full internal investigation had been carried out.

HSE inspector Norman Buchanan said: "This incident could have easily been avoided if The LS Starrett Company Ltd had carried out a risk assessment, which would have identified the fact that the upper level gates could be opened when the platform was not there."

He said the company has since installed inter-locks and platform positioning sensors to their lifts.

Mr Buchanan added: "The fact that the company did install such devices afterwards shows that this was a reasonably practicable measure which they could have taken, had they done so Mr Douglas would not have suffered such serious injuries."

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