Trapdoor fall leads to £25,000 fine for pub chain

Related tags Occupational safety and health

A Reading pub chain has been fined £25,000 after a customer fell 10ft through an open trapdoor.Christopher Prosper, a 24-year-old from Thatcham,...

A Reading pub chain has been fined £25,000 after a customer fell 10ft through an open trapdoor.

Christopher Prosper, a 24-year-old from Thatcham, Berkshire, was taken to hospital with cuts to his arms and ankles and bruising to his abdomen after falling through an open trapdoor and tumbling into a metal cage.

The incident happened at closing time at the Three Guineas pub in Reading, Berkshire, on June 28, 2003.

The pub (pictured)​ did not report the incident and the pub chain, Broken Foot Inns, also failed to take action to prevent such accidents from happening again.

Broken Foot Inns was found guilty of breaching the Health & Safety at Work Act on two accounts. It was fined £10,000 for the first offence and £15,000 for failing to act to prevent any further accidents.

The case has sent alarm bells ringing through the trade, highlighting just how important it is to ensure that Health & Safety rules are followed stringently.

Tony Payne, chief executive of the Federation of Licensed Victuallers' Associations, said: "There have been a lot of these cases over the last few years. I would advise licensees to always make sure the trapdoor has a guard and that cellar doors are locked to stop people from falling.

"It's also important to make sure that staff are fully trained and know they should always close the trapdoor."

Reading councillor June Orton said: "This was a serious incident that could have been much worse. The level of the fine sends a clear message to all managers and staff of licensed premises that such lapses in health and safety are not acceptable."

Broken Foot Inns declined to comment when contacted by The Publican. The company admitted two charges of not taking adequate measures to prevent people falling, on June 28 and August 7, 2003 - at Reading Magistrates Court on October 14, 2004. The pub company was also ordered to pay £3,654 in costs.

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