Safety plea during inquest into mechanic who got crushed by car

Coroner urges technicians to consider mechanic's death as "an important reminder" to take safety seriously

Safety plea during inquest into mechanic who got crushed by car

A coroner has highlighted the dangers of working underneath vehicles and has urged all mechanics to always take precautions after a man died from chest injuries caused when the car he was working on fell on him. 

26-year-old Richard Harron died after the vehicle came off a hydraulic jack, causing fatal crush asphyxia and chest injuries.

Mr Harron had two mechanic jobs and also carried out work for family members “because he never said no” to anyone, the court heard.

November 13, 2017 he had gone to his grandmother’s house to carry out work on a Seat he had bought for parts, arriving at 7.30pm.

In a statement Mr Harron’s grandmother said she went out to check on him at 10.00pm when she discovered her grandson lying on the ground with the car on top of his chest.

Uneven ground

The coroner was told that the ground where Mr Harron had been working was stony and slightly sloped.

Forensic tests carried out on Mr Harron’s jack showed no defects.

Coroner Patrick McGurgan said: “There is no doubt Richard was a talented young man.

“It struck me that he had been around cars for most of his life.

“This emphasises the need when you are going to perform such a task to ensure all steps have been taken to satisfy yourself that it is completely safe.”

He added that there was no doubt mechanics work on cars jacked up with no thought as to what might happen, adding that he wanted Mr Harron’s death to be an important reminder to take every safety precaution.

Take precautions

A 21-year-old man lost his life in June while attempting to remove the engine from a BMW in Halisham, East Sussex.

The BMW fell onto the man’s chest, leaving him pinned underneath the vehicle after the jack which had been supporting it failed.

Last year a DIY mechanic was lucky to escape with his life when the Mercedes Sprinter he was working on fell on top of him.

After hearing cries for help, a gym-going neighbour manages to free man by single-handedly lifting the van up as another Good Samaritan dragged the mechanic free.

Do you agree with the coroner that most technicians work under vehicles without a second thought about the possible dangers? Have you or anybody you know ever had a close call? Perhaps you think this is just another reason to introduce industry licensing – leave your comments below.

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This topic contains 14 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  Andy Watkins 2 weeks, 5 days ago.

Viewing 14 posts - 1 through 14 (of 14 total)
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  • #164862 Reply

    Tony

    There are mechanics and there are people who tat with cars on the drive. You change a tyre and you could easily be killed by the jack slipping. I think any garage would recognises the potential for lost production if a tech is pinned under a car.

    #164864 Reply

    Dougal

    Would industry licensing have any relevance in these sad cases.
    It sounds as though the work was being undertaken outside the industry.

    #164868 Reply

    Alan

    There are times that I don’t use an axle stand and should be , sometimes we get complacent,this makes you rethink and I will use stands more

    #164869 Reply

    Des Pullar

    Most technicians won’t take the chance because we know the dangers, it’s a very sad case but I doubt he was a professional tech, more of a home handyman.
    Rip, sounded like a decent bloke all the same.

    #164870 Reply

    Dan

    It’s a sad thing but all us techs have no doubt done it at some point like oh I just need a quick look just using the jack it can happen to any of us not just the diy mechanic

    #164872 Reply

    John Revill

    If you are reading this, you probably will think about personal safety and the safety of others. Well Done! If you are working under something, spare wheel, Blocks, axle stands, anything is better than nothing. Just consider, ” What happens if it slips?”… Courage and care to you all.. Work safely.. go home in one piece!JR

    #164901 Reply

    James

    Safty first the car should be on level ground it not worth taking the chance with a jack. Use axle stands if they are missing parts spend the extra money and buy a new set .if I ever do a car i prefer level ground i use axle stands i chuck the wheels under the car and if i even chuck the ramps under the car if I’m working on under the front of car i make sure hand break is on and there is something at the of the rear wheels them extra few min you spend on safety is a good chance it will save your life .for got to add i give the car extra support by putting the jaxk underneath it as well . Some of you may think it over the top.but I’m not a chancer .stay safe fellow mechanics

    #164948 Reply

    Adam Skinner
    Participant

    Legislation would have no effect, having worked in the industry for 40+ years I find that laws only make the government coffers bulge more and have little practical use.

    #165019 Reply

    Anthony Roe

    Rip Both lads that lost their lives, but you have to use the right equipment diy mechanics no problem with that at all but you must MUST secure the car properly as others have said level ground is a must axle stands and yes whatever you can put under the car that is not in your way or stop you getting to the area you need to fix, do it as i would imagine the vehicle failing on you would be quite horrific and could be a horrible way to go, best wishes to the family that are left behind and anybody reading the comments please learn from it.

    #165170 Reply

    Demetris Koulouris

    I have seen everything and I say that mainly nobody is using axle to secure a car on a trolley jack and if so the axle pin is replaced by a bolt or screwdriver. Cutting corners in a high risk environment is dangerous. Under similar circumstances found death a master technician for Bull Racing cars couple of years ago. It is very sad to hear such bad news. Use the right tools for the job in hand. Evaluate the risk. Take precautions.

    It is also nice to see that some people care more about the loss of profit of the industry, than the cost of life…..

    #165319 Reply

    Philip Dunmore

    The coroner is not correct if he us referring to professional technicians. Most of those will be using full height lifts in proper workshops, another subject, highly regulated.

    In our workshop trolly jacks are only used for occasional wheel change or supporting an engine whilst one mount is removed.

    All professionals should be aware of the dangers.

    #165789 Reply

    Eddie Bamber

    I personally know two people who have been killed in this way. One when a Jaguar sump pan crushed his face, and the other when the air bag on a bus suspension burst and the bus came down on him. I always use axle stands, and when I lower the jack onto them, I lock the jack out and leave that in place as well. We’ve all been guilty of a quick look underneath, but remember, your life is relying on one little ‘O’ ring. I think these guys have been enthusiastic amateurs without the right equipment. Stay safe everyone.

    #166042 Reply

    stuart gent

    i have seen first hand the consequences of jacking up a vehicle on uneven ground and the mechanic crushed under the front hub of an alfa 75,it was only the week before that i advised him to insert axle stands as what he was doing was dangerous sadly he did not listen and the image of him will stay with me forever. dont take the risk its not worth it.

    #166052 Reply

    Andy Watkins

    If your breaking cars for spares this is a heavily regulated industry probably not suited to granny’s drive.

Viewing 14 posts - 1 through 14 (of 14 total)

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