Health and Safety News

Occupational health and safety news and guidance

Newport council fined following death of disabled man

Newport City Council has been ordered to pay over £160,000 after a disabled man died when he was trapped in a ceiling track hoist installed in his home.

Michael Powell, 53, suffocated when he attempted to hoist himself over his bed, on or around the evening of 20 January 2008, and was unable to call for help.

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found that the handset control for the ceiling track hoist was on the floor next to his bed, and subsequent tests indicated that it could easily detach and fall off.

HSE also found one of the directional control buttons on the handset was pointing in the wrong direction. The emergency pull cord that would normally lower the user to safety if trapped, was not working due to the corrosion of the battery terminals.

Newport City Council, of Civic Centre, Newport, Gwent, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. They were fined £100,000 and ordered to pay full costs of £60,108.02 pence.

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