Installer loses leg crushed by falling staircase

A man's leg was crushed beneath the 1.7tonne staircase when it fell. The leg had to be amputated just below the groin.

An installer has had his leg amputated just below the groin after a section of staircase weighing 1.7 tonnes fell on him when the fabric slings being used to lift it into position failed.

As a result, the company responsible for installing the staircase, Leyton Group Construction Ltd of Basildon, Essex, was fined £14,000 and ordered to pay £7,227.14 costs when it appeared before Westminster Magistrates on 9 July. It admitted breaching Regulation 8 (1) of the Lifting Operations & Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER) on 19 July last year when the incident occured.

An investigation by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) had found that Leyton Group Construction Ltd failed to plan the lifting operation properly. The lift plan was not specific to the job and the method statement lacked the level of detail required about the load, how it should be slung and how it should be lifted. This resulted in the slings being stretched across the sharp metal edges of the staircase stringers, causing a shearing action that led to the failure of one the slings.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE principal inspector Tania van Rixtel said: "The method employed for lifting the staircase was unsafe. This case highlights the need for duty holders to properly plan all lifting operations before work is carried out to manage the risk of injury to workers. 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."