The prosecution followed an incident on 27 October 2007 when a lift engineer was fatally crushed after being struck by a counterweight on a partially completed lift during the construction of Heathrow Terminal 5. Kevin Dawson had been part of a team of three from Schindler who were installing a set of three passenger lifts. During the course of construction, the investigation by the HSE found that communication procedures between Schindler employees were inadequate as they were not provided with radios / telephones and were left to call up and down the lift shaft, which could cause confusion as the three shafts were built alongside each other. The lift cars, which had only been partially installed and had not been fitted with their safety critical components such as a stop switch, were also used to move workers and tools up and down floors of the building. It was during the course of one such move that Mr Dawson, who had been working on a ladder at the bottom of a lift shaft, was struck by a counterweight and fatally injured. The HSE found that Schindler had failed to identify the risk of crushing from moving lift parts. HSE principal inspector, Norman Macritchie, stated that work in lift shafts was dangerous due as they are “confined and poorly lit places, where heavy components can move suddenly, silently and without warning”.
Schindler admitted breaches of Sections 2(1) and 3(1) HSWA, and breach of Regulation 8(1) Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 for failing to ensure that the lifting operations were properly planned and supervised. Schindler was fined £250k for the Section 2(1) offence, and £50k for the breach of Regulation 8. No separate penalty was imposed for breach of Section 3(1). Schindler was also ordered to pay costs of £169,970 in addition to the fines imposed. The firm reported a pre-tax loss of £2.3m against a turnover of £81.9m to 31 December 2010.