On July 5th in Tralee Circuit Court, an engineering company, Ellickson Engineering Ltd (in receivership), was fined a total €750,000 before Judge Thomas O’Donnell.
The case arose after the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) were notified of a serious incident, involving five guests, which occurred on the 9th of July 2011 in a passenger lift at the Killarney Plaza Hotel in Killarney, Co. Kerry. Arising from the incident the HSA commenced a detailed investigation.
The investigation determined that Ellickson Engineering Ltd (in receivership) installed the passenger lift in 2004. The lift was installed into the existing building of the Killarney Plaza Hotel. On completion of the installation, the lift was placed into first use in April 2004.
Evidence was heard during the trial that Ellickson Engineering Limited (in receivership) failed to install a safety electric system for the refuge space safety system, which is a critical requirement for personnel carrying out maintenance work in such passenger lifts with reduced head room and pit space.
Further evidence was heard that on the 9th July 2011, five guests of the hotel entered the passenger lift at the basement carpark level and selected reception level. However, the lift by-passed the reception level and continued to the lifts uppermost floor. The passengers described how they heard a loud bang and how the lift rapidly fell, stopping momentarily before again falling some 5.85 meters to the ground at basement level.
Brian Higgisson, Assistant Chief Executive of the HSA said:
“This investigation determined that there was a clear failure in the installation process of this lift.
All lifts when installed must have the required safety features included and those with the responsibility for the installation process must ensure that this is the case. The consequences of failing in this duty, as we have seen, can be extremely serious.”