Lift maintenance company receives six-figure fine following employee fatality

Lewis McFarlin

A lift maintenance firm has been handed a £200,000 fine after an employee lost his life while working at a factory operated by Muller Yogurt and Desserts.

The company, Lift Monitoring Systems (formerly RJ Lift Services), received the fine on Monday following an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into the death of 24-year-old lift engineer Lewis McFarlin, who was employed by the Staffordshire-based company.

Tragically, McFarlin suffered a fatal crushing incident while attempting to repair a goods lift at Muller’s Market Drayton factory on January 14, 2020.

The inquest jury in 2021 concluded that his death was accidental.

He, along with two other lift engineers from Lift Monitoring Systems, initially arrived on-site to address a different lift-related task before resolving an issue with the door-opening mechanism on one of the lift landing doors.

During this McFarlin found himself atop the lift car, with one engineer inside the lift and another stationed outside on the landing.

The lift had been placed in inspection mode, allowing McFarlin to control the lift from its rooftop and assist his colleague inside in addressing the problem.

As the work proceeded, the lift unexpectedly shifted from inspection mode to normal mode while McFarlin was still on top.

This transition caused the lift to move at its standard speed, trapping him in a void between the lift car and the structural elements of the lift shaft.

Despite efforts by his colleagues to release him, they were unsuccessful, and he had tragically lost his life by the time emergency services arrived at the scene.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) revealed a critical oversight—the failure to cover the void in which McFarlin became trapped. The incident could have been prevented had the void been properly sheeted.

Muller Yogurt and Desserts was not subject to prosecution by the HSE.

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