Kilmarnock Sheriff Court has fined East Ayrshire Council £56,000 following the death of one of its employees. Robert McGill, an electrician for the council for over 18 years was killed in April 2009 whilst carrying out work in the gym hall of Kilmarnock Academy. He suffered severe brain injuries when he fell from a Mobile Elevating Work Platform, or airlift. It collapsed as he worked on overhead lighting.
The Construction Design and Management Regulations 2007 state that by law, hazards arising from using these kinds of platforms should be controlled. However, the Sheriff found that the council had not conducted a suitable risk assessment for their employees, nor provided any training or even an instruction manual for operation of the airlift. McGill and another employee had been using the airlift without safety stabilisers. The airlift had also been moved whilst fully extended and with McGill on it. The Sheriff found the council, who pleaded guilty, had committed an offence in terms of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive found that none of the electricians expected to use the airlift had been given formal training.
The Sheriff made clear that the fine would never fully compensate for the loss of Mr McGill. He stated: "The loss of Mr McGill to his family must be regarded as being beyond any monetary figure and be priceless”.
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Without answers as to what happened and why it happened they cannot move on with their lives, they need to know that no other family will be touched as they have been by the loss of a loved one.
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