Warning for licensees after cellar death

By Matt Eley Matt

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Occupational safety and health

A stark health and safety warning has been sent to licensees after a publican was jailed when a customer plunged to his death by falling through a...

A stark health and safety warning has been sent to licensees after a publican was jailed when a customer plunged to his death by falling through a cellar door.

David Bell was sentenced to two years imprisonment for failing to lock the door which customers had previously mistaken for a toilet door.

The court heard how James Teasdale was on a night out when he opened the door and fell to his death. His body was not discovered for three days.

In a tragic ironic twist Bell was not at the scene at the time because he was away on a health and safety course.

The incident took place at Zest Bar in Scarborough in July last year. Bell had been licensee at the pub for just over a year.

He pleaded guilty to a charge of manslaughter and was sentenced to two years in prison at Leeds Crown Court.

The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) said the case highlighted the need for licensees to keep their health and safety practices under review.

Jim Cathcart, BBPA policy advisor, said: "It is a reminder that although most licensees are aware of their responsibilities under health and safety legislation, it is important to keep this under review to prevent incidents and protect customers.

"The BBPA worked with the Health and Safety Executive to develop an example risk assessment for a pub which includes managing slips, trips and falls and specifically action to prevent customer access to the cellar area."

Further information on the risk assessment can be found at www.hse.gov.uk

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