Fishmonger fined after employee falls from height

Published: Tuesday, 17th October 2017

A Birmingham fishmongers has been ordered to pay £13,255 after an employee fell 2.5m (8.2ft) out of a delivery hatch in June 2016, at Birmingham Magistrates Court yesterday (16 October 2017).

J Vickerstaff and Co Limited - based at Wholesale Markets Precinct, Pershore Street – had pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing (14 September 2017) to health and safety offence under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. The firm was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay costs of £3,225.60.

Birmingham City Council brought the prosecution after officers investigating the incident found the system for using the delivery hatch was flawed - a lock on one of the doors was faulty and it was not possible to see whether both locks had engaged properly when the doors had been shut after use.

The court heard that on 23 June 2016 the employee had taken a box of fish down the stairs to the landing, where he tripped over the box and fell against the delivery hatch doors, but they opened and he fell backwards out onto the ground where he sustained head and back injuries.

Health and safety officers found there had been no audits or checks of the doors and their use, to ensure suitable measures to prevent a fall from height were in place.

The court heard that J Vickerstaff and Co Limited co-operated with the investigation, replacing the doors with suitable locks and safe system of work for their use.

Councillor Barbara Dring, Chair of the city council’s Licensing and Public Protection Committee, said: “This case shows what can happen if a business fails to ensure that systems and control measures are suitable, particularly if failing to do so could result in serious or life changing injuries.

 “Falls from height are well known to cause serious or fatal injuries. Officers will continue to take action where minimum standards of health and safety are not met or flouted.”