Company Fined Over Tower Bridge Lift Fall

Passengers Injured In 2009 Incident Caused By Failure Of Vital Mechanisms


A lift company has been fined £100,000 after pleading guilty to two breaches of the Health and Safety at Work Act.

Four of the lift's passengers sustained bone fractures, and a further six were treated for shock in following the incident in May 2009. A lift at the tourist attraction fell three metres down the shaft, landing below the ground floor entrance, after a vital counterweight mechanism failed.

The HSE investigation discovered similar issues with two other lifts at Tower Bridge. However, very basic repairs had been made with no investigation in to why they had failed, or any effort to safeguard other lifts.

It was ruled by Southwark Crown Court that the uncontrolled fall could have been avoided if more precautions had been taken, indicative of wider failings at the attractions. Temple Lifts Ltd was fined £50,000, and an additional £50,000 in costs.

After the sentencing, HSE Inspector Michael La Rose said: "This was a truly disturbing incident that affected a number of people and that could have resulted in even greater injuries.

"It is vital that lifts are properly maintained, and that urgent action is taken if any possible issues or concerns are identified. There were warning signs here that were seemingly overlooked, and missed opportunities to properly rectify recurring faults."

Expert Opinion
This shocking incident, which left four people seriously injured, is further illustration of the need for companies to take their responsibility for health and safety seriously, which includes ensuring equipment is well-maintained.

“The injuries in this incident could have been much worse and we hope this successful prosecution by the HSE will ensure companies take the necessary steps to develop process that enable faults to be reported and repaired before the safety of members of the public and workers are put at risk.”
Stephen Nye, Partner

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