Saturday 24 March 2018

Engineers doing 'nixers' fixed lift in which dad died

Stephen Hampson
Stephen Hampson

Gareth Naughton

ENGINEERS doing "nixers" carried out "ad hoc" repairs on a lift in a Dublin bar that claimed the life of a father of two, an inquest heard.

Stephen Hampson (31) from Castlegrange Close in Clondalkin, Dublin 22, was fatally injured when he was trapped between the lift and the shaft of a goods lift at Blu Bar in Tallaght on August 23, 2009.

Dublin Coroner's Court heard the goods lift, which was being used inappropriately by staff to move between floors, had been deliberately modified to bypass safety measures preventing it operating with the doors open.

Health and Safety Authority inspector Kay Baxter told the inquest she identified a number of lift engineers doing "nixers", carrying out "running repairs" to the lift on an "ad hoc basis".

Ms Baxter said from May 2009, employees started travelling in it single-handedly. They would "get in the lift in a crouched position, put their arm or head and arm back out to push the button".

Mr Hampson had been working as assistant manager at the bar, operated by TBC Bar Ltd, for four weeks when he died.

He was found trapped between the first and second floor by colleagues.

Former bar manager Andrew Lacy said he went to help when he saw Mr Hampson's hand hanging loose underneath the lift shaft. He reached down to take his pulse and Mr Hampson squeezed his hand. When he checked for a pulse a short time later, there was none.

Engineers who inspected the lift gave evidence that the electrics had been deliberately modified so it could operate when the doors on the basement and first floors were open.

Consulting engineer Michael Cullen said the modifications were done by "someone who knew exactly what they were at".

Coroner Dr Brian Farrell said there were "serious risk factors" involved, including the use of the lift when it was not fit for purpose; the modifications; the evidence it was not maintained properly; and that, despite warning signs, it was being used by employees when it was not designed for that purpose.

The jury returned a verdict of misadventure.

Last year, TBC Bar Ltd company director James Lambert and former director David McKee were prosecuted for health and safety breaches. Both men pleaded guilty and were ordered to do community service.

Irish Independent

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