HMRC pays damages to disabled employee trapped by lift10 May 2011
Trapped between lift doors
The 57-year-old, who as a result of a side effect from her diabetes, suffers from muscle weakness and must walk with a stick was trapped between lift doors while trying to get to her office on the 16th floor of the HMRC building in Cardiff.
The lift had already been reported faulty after closing suddenly on two other employees earlier that day but nothing was done to put it out of action.
The lift is one of four available for use by the thousands of HMRC employees using the building.
Doors slammed shut on her
As the administrator was entering the lift, the doors suddenly slammed shut on her and she had to force them open with her hands to get out.
She was left with soft tissue damage to both shoulders and needed intensive physiotherapy. She still suffers from pain in one shoulder.
She said: "It was terrifying. For a moment I didn't think I was going to be able to get myself out. I was in a terrible shock but I knew I had badly injured my left shoulder.
"For more than a year I refused to use that lift and would have walked the stairs if I could but I use a stick and work on the 16th floor so had no choice but to get into the other lifts."
Thompsons Solicitors made claim for compensation
Following the accident she contacted the PCS which instructed Thompsons Solicitors to pursue compensation. It was found that there had been numerous problems with the lift over a long period of time but nothing had been done to fix it.
Thompsons was successful in settling the claim after the HMRC admitted liability.
Peter Lockhart, PCS national officer for HMRC, said: "Many of our members have complained to us about this lift and HMRC should have acted a lot quicker to fix it and prevent this accident. We are pleased the department has accepted responsibility and we hope it will now ensure this doesn't happen again."
Caragh Hogan from Thompsons Solicitors in Cardiff said: "Having a lift door close on you is scary for anyone, for this member with her disability it was a real panic and has long term consequences because her condition means it has taken her longer than normal to heal.
"Surely one incident like this should lead a good employer to sort things out but our investigations showed that this lift has caused similar problems for many employees."
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