The landlord of a Birmingham business was ordered to pay £3,004 after pleading guilty to health and safety offences after a shopper fell 2 metres into the shop’s basement at Birmingham Magistrates Court today (10 December 2015).
Birmingham City Council brought a case against Melbourne Blake, 72, who owns 2 Foundry Road, Winson Green, after an 18-year-old woman fell into the basement of Blakey’s Newsagents, as she entered the shop on 27 June 2014.
Blake was prosecuted for breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. He was fined £750 and ordered to pay costs of £2,179 plus a £75 victim surcharge.
Images taken from CCTV footage showed Mr Blake watching his contractors removing and replacing floorboards and joists over two days (26 and 27 June 2014) while the newsagent open to customers.
No precautions had been taken by Mr Blake, such as temporarily closing the shop or ensuring barriers were in place to prevent accidents such as this. On several occasions customers could be seen balancing on the joists to get to the counter to pay for goods.
Immediately after this incident, the woman was helped out of the basement by two workmen and taken by ambulance to City Hospital, where she was treated for bruising to her ribs and discharged later that day.
Cllr Barbara Dring, Chair of the city council’s Licensing and Public Protection Committee, said: “This accident could have been much worse if an elderly, disabled or young customer had fallen into the basement, but it shouldn’t have happened at all. Blake failed to ensure the work being done to the shop floor would not put customers’ safety at risk while the shop was open.
“All businesses and landlords have legal obligations to ensure that contractors have adequate controls in place to protect employees and members of the public.
“Our officers will continue to take action where health and safety standards are not met – to help ensure incidents like this do not happen in future.”
Blakey’s Newsagent was able to continue trading and remains open.
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