Worker suffers serious injury in fall down a lift shaft in Starbucks

Published: 7 Apr 2016

A female worker, reported to be in her 20’s, suffered serious injury when falling 25 ft down a lift shaft at a Starbucks coffee shop in Solihull. It is understood that the women broke her pelvis and her leg.

A spokesperson for the West Midlands Ambulance Service said: “Ambulance staff were told that the woman in her 20's had tried to use the lift but when she stepped into the lift shaft there was nothing there,  she therefore fell approximately 25ft to the bottom of the shaft.

For further information regarding the accident, the following web links can be accessed:

In line with the recent introduction of the sentencing guidelines, this unfortunate accident could have a major impact on the type of fines/sentences that could be passed going forward.

What can you do to limit exposure to prosecution?

  1. If for any reason a passenger lift is deemed unsafe, it needs to be taken out of action with immediate effect.
  2. The relevant signage needs to be put in place to inform persons of the hazards associated with the lift. This could also be done in line with a risk assessment where control measures are put in place to reduce/eliminate the exposure to the hazard.
  3. If the competent lift engineer identifies any defects that could pose an existing or immanent risk to personal safety, they are required by law to send a copy of the report to the relevant enforcing authority.
  4. Only once the passenger lift has been deemed to be safe by the competent lift safety engineer can it be put back in action.
  5. Statutory inspections (as per Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER) need to be conducted on a 6 monthly basis by a competent lift safety engineer. Any defects identified during this inspection will also need to be suitably remedied to ensure the safe running of the passenger lift.
  6. Also ensure that routine planned maintenance is carried out on the passenger lift with remedial works carried out as required.

For further information regarding thorough examination and testing of lifts, the following web link can accessed: