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Fatal Accident Inquiry into the circumstances of the death of Mr Craig Lochrie [2010] FAI 48


In terms of section 6(1)(a) of the Fatal Accident and Sudden Deaths Inquiry (Scotland) Act 2000, the Sheriff found that Mr Craig Lochrie died Monklands District General Hospital on 9 June 2008 at 1210 hours. The cause of death was (a) crush injuries to chest and abdomen due to (b) an industrial accident.

On the date of death, the deceased was working for his employers at a scrap yard. The deceased was employed as a scrap metal burner and his job was to cut large pieces of scrap metal down to smaller sizes. The deceased was working on site in a designated area on inter alia a plate lift mechanism. The lifting beam of the plate lift on which he had been then working, toppled forward and fell on the deceased, trapping him against a railway chassis causing crush injuries to his chest and abdomen. Eyewitnesses attempted to remove the lifting beam from the deceased but were unable to do so. While one colleague radioed for an ambulance, another helped in the removal of the lifting beam, assisted with chains and a crane.

At the inquiry, it was not in dispute that the deceased must have been standing between the legs of the plate lift at the time the lifting beam toppled forward, trapping him against the upturned chassis. What was not clear was why the deceased might have been there. Witnesses from the deceased's place of employment gave evidence to the effect that the only safe way to burn metal was outside of the legs of the plate lift, and that moreover, the deceased would have known this as an experienced burner. Evidence also suggested that the deceased was not careless with his safety and would not have deliberately jeopardised his well-being by standing in the middle of the plate lift while still burning. Therefore, one reasonable hypothesis was that the deceased had stopped burning at the time and had turned to work on materials behind him. However, given that there was no evidence to support this, the Sheriff concluded that it was not possible to state beyond doubt why the deceased had placed himself in the middle of the plate lift.

Accordingly, under section 6(1)(c) of the 2000 Act, the Sheriff determined that a reasonable precaution whereby the deceased's death might have been avoided was for the deceased not to place himself in the area inside the legs of a plate lift mechanism, on which he had been working at the time of the accident.