UK’s fourth largest pub company prosecuted for health and safety breaches

Slug and Lettuce in Colchester High Street fined more than £100,000

Date issued: 15 January 2019

Colchester Borough Council has successfully prosecuted Stonegate Pub Company Ltd, the fourth largest managed pub company in the UK, for health and safety breaches at the Slug and Lettuce, 111 High Street, Colchester, resulting in a £100,000 fine, costs of £3,792.28 and a £170 victim surcharge.

On 11 January 2019, District Judge Woollard, sitting at Chelmsford Magistrates Court, heard how an employee, who was preparing to unload a drinks delivery on 18 October 2017, broke several fingers when an open but unsecured internal cellar hatch door fell back onto the employee’s hand.

An accident report filed after the incident led to an incident investigation by the council’s Health and Safety Officer. The visiting officer found that gas struts originally installed to enable the safe opening and closure of the hatch door had been removed on 1 July 2016. Neither these nor an alternative method to prevent the doors from falling back once opened had been replaced.

The investigation also found that the company did not have suitable and sufficient risk assessments in place regarding the safe delivery of goods at the premises. In addition, the cellar hatch was not adequately guarded when open to prevent people from falling down the 2.38m cellar shaft.

Since the council’s involvement with the case, Stonegate Pub Company Ltd have worked alongside the council to ensure that all Health and Safety risk assessments are in place and are followed.

Councillor Tina Bourne, Portfolio Holder for Housing and Communities, said: "Our role is to protect everyone in the workplace by ensuring that premises are maintained in good working order. Risk assessments must be fit for purpose and safe systems of work adhered to.

“We are very satisfied with the outcome of this case and I would urge all workplaces across the borough to ensure that their employees are protected from harm by following the appropriate health and safety guidelines.”

For information on health and safety at work, including an organisation’s duties as an employer, please visit www.colchester.gov.uk/healthandsafety.

ENDS

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