Former university undergraduate Cyran Stewart, suffered fatal injuries when he was helping clear up after the popular 'Carnage' student night at the Walkabout bar in Swansea's city centre.
The 20-year-old was moving heavy chairs from the basement cellar to the ground floor in a service lift when the incident happened, Swansea Coroner's Court was told.
He was trapped for 31 minutes and was eventually released by firefighters using specialist equipment to force the lift doors.
The inquest heard that the key used to manually open the lift doors in an emergency appeared to be missing and staff resorted to using a wooden broom handle to try to free Mr Stewart.
He died at the Morriston Hospital in Swansea on February 28, 2014 – four days after the incident – having never regained consciousness.
During busy nights the chairs and stools would be removed from the ground floor of the 1,100-capacity venue and stored in the cellar.
After the pub closed at 3am, Mr Stewart, who worked at the bar full-time after quitting his computer science degree at the University of Bradford, was returning the furniture to the ground floor.
At 3.18am, a colleague heard screaming and realised Mr Stewart was trapped in the lift - pressed against the side by the chairs, which weighed 44lb (20kg) each.
At the start of the hearing, Colin Phillips, acting senior coroner for Swansea and Neath Port Talbot, had told the inquest jurors that they would have to consider several questions before returning a conclusion.
This would include evidence of how a safety mechanism that was used to ensure the internal door was closed before the lift could be operated had been overridden by Walkabout staff.
Mr Phillips said the lift doors could be opened manually in an emergency with the use of a V plate key.
"The mechanism appeared to be missing and the fire brigade used hydraulic equipment to force the lift doors open in order to gain access," he said.
"It became apparent the lift was crammed full of furniture and the internal gate was fully open.
"The lift would not generally work unless the internal gate was shut because this completed the electrical circuit. But it's possible to manually override this."
Mr Phillips told the jurors they should focus their findings on several key questions, including the events leading up to Mr Stewart's death, the condition of the lift and whether the V plate key was operational.
He also asked them to consider "the way the lift was being used, and in particular the practice of overriding the safety mechanism and the knowledge of the management of the condition of the lift and how it was being operated, including previous incidents".
Hugh Griffiths, an investigator for South Wales Police's major crime investigation team, told the hearing: "It became apparent that the way Cyran was transferring chairs between floors in the service lift was not an isolated incident.
"There was a previous incident of staff becoming stuck and requiring assistance to free themselves."
Mr Griffiths also said inquiries had established that the lift had been "out of compliance" with the relevant legislation since July 2011.
Mr Stewart's elder brother, Gavin, worked at the pub as deputy manager and both lived in on-site accommodation.
At the time of the incident the Walkabout bar was owned by pub chain Intertain, which has since been bought by another company.
Mr Stewart's mother, Elizabeth Williams, said in a written statement that she wanted answers as to how her son died.
"I have never really understood how the incident happened and caused the death of my son," she said.