Man ‘could have been killed’ after falling down lift shaft

A MAN whose ear was nearly severed completely from his head when he fell down an elevator shaft at a North Herts-based company was lucky not to have been killed.

Food company Jas Bowman and Sons Ltd, based in Ickleford, has been forced to pay �60,000 following the horrific incident, which left the man with a fractured skull, a cranial blood clot, a severed ear which almost detached from his head, and extensive bruising.

The injuries, which forced the man to quit work for 18 months, came about after he fell two floors down the lift shaft while attempting to fix its door.

Another man, a maintenance engineer, was also injured at the company a year earlier when he fell more than two metres while attempting to clean flour from inside a conveyor. He fractured his right shoulder blade and a vertebra in his spine.

Both incidents came to light after an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive, and were outlined at Stevenage Magistrates Court on Tuesday.

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It was here Jas Bowman and Sons was told it must pay �60,000 for both safety failings.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Graham Tompkins said: “These were both serious incidents in their own right, but coupled together they provide a worrying picture.

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“Lessons should have been learned from the first incident, however, the safety of workers continued to be compromised. This culminated with the fall of the electrical sub contractor, which was entirely preventable and should have been avoided.”

He added: “He could easily have been killed and I hope the severity of that incident and this prosecution serves as a final wake-up call.”

Jas Bowman and Sons Ltd pleaded guilty to two breaches of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and two breaches of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

It was fined �40,000 and ordered to pay �20,282 in costs.

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