Urgent HSE inspection of lifts following Galway boy’s death

Hynes Building, Galway

The HSE is to carry out an urgent inspection of lifts across the country following the death of a three-year-old boy in Galway.

During the inquest into the death of Solomon Soremekun, it emerged the boy jumped into a lift on his own. However, he managed to open the doors again while the lift was in motion between floors and fell into the lift shaft.

His body was found at the Hynes Building office complex in Galway City on the afternoon of January 17. He died from crush injuries.

The Health and Safety Authority has now issued an alert following the death, targeting those who control and maintain passenger lifts.

The HSE has also launched an inspection programme across the country to ascertain the extent and nature of the lifts involved.

Solomon’s mother, Omolara, told her solicitor the family had been coming out of the social welfare office at the complex when the lift door opened and Solomon had jumped in. But the door had closed before his mother or sisters could join him.

The little boy was unable to get out, and shortly afterwards his body was discovered in the lift shaft.

Gardaí and the HSA have been carrying out investigations into the tragedy and the HSA has now published a passenger lift safety alert on its website. It says “an issue” has now been identified with a number of passenger lifts when in motion between floors.

It warned: “When pressure is applied to open the doors, the following occurs: The lift car will stop, the doors on the affected passenger lifts will open exposing persons to a potential hazard, and the doors will then close again.

“Once they are not obstructed, the lift will continue to its destination as normal. Should this happen, the person in the passenger lift should remain clear of the opening.”

The HSA has asked those carrying out maintenance or inspections to pay particular attention to the following:

* The operation of the inner lift car door whilst the lift is in motion, after pressure is applied to simulate the manual opening of the door;

* The distance between the lift car door and the wall of the lift shaft;

* The operation of the inner and outer lift doors to ensure that doors operate as normal.

The HSA added: “Employers and persons in control should ensure checks are carried out by competent persons to ensure lifts comply with required standards.

“Should issues arise as outlined above, controls should be put in place to ensure the safety of all persons using the lift.”

The lift at the three-storey Hynes office complex in Galway City centre is still sealed off and cannot be used by the public.

The HSA has confirmed it will facilitate an independent engineer’s inspection of the lift on behalf of Solomon’s mother.


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