Two companies are being sentenced for health and safety breaches after a five-year-old girl died when she became trapped in a disability platform lift at her home, a court has heard.
Housing association, Synergy Housing Ltd, and lift maintenance firm, Orana Ltd, admitted charges of failing to discharge their health and safety duty, a breach of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, at a court hearing.
Alexys Brown died from head and neck injuries after becoming stuck between the platform lift and the ceiling of her home when she managed to put her head through a hole in the Perspex door panel.
Prosecutors described a “catalogue of failures” involving the platform lift which included no action taken to fix a damaged door following an inspection and the absence of a safety key to prevent the lift being used unsupervised.
The court also heard that there was no emergency handle that would allow the lift to be manually raised or lowered.
The five-year-old’s family heard in court that the lift ought to have been serviced every six months, but had not been thoroughly inspected since 2012.
According to a report by the Guardian, Sara Lawson QC, who was prosecuting for the Health and Safety Executive, said a “catalogue of failures and lack of checks” made by the two companies led to Alexys’ death.
“The injuries suffered were horrific. The lift was in an unsatisfactory condition at the time it was in use. If either the hole had not been present or there had been adequate control of the key switch at the time, this incident would not have occurred.
“The systems in place were not rigorous enough and problems with the emergency lowering system had existed since the start of the Brown family’s tenancy and had not been addressed.”