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Shop owner ordered to pay £5k for customer fall

A Birmingham gift shop owner was ordered to pay £5,008 today (16 September 2021) after Birmingham Magistrates Court heard how an elderly customer fell down an open hatch into the store’s basement

Shazad Butt (68) of Nansen Road, Birmingham was fined £1,333 and ordered to pay costs of £3,542 and a £133 victim surcharge after he pleaded guilty to an offence under Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 on 2 September 2021.

Birmingham City Council brought the prosecution after an incident at Pam’s Love and Roses, 314 Coventry Road, Small Heath, on 21 December 2020 when the man fell into the basement because a hatch in the floor was left open.

The customer was taken to hospital having dislocated their shoulder. His daughter visited the shop a couple of hours after the incident to make a complaint, when she found the hatch was open again.

The council’s Health and Safety Inspector who investigated after being informed about the incident prohibited the basement hatch being left open unless suitable fall prevention measures were put in place.

The basement hatch had been installed 6 August 2020. After the incident an alarm was fitted to it and hazard tape placed on the floor but were still not sufficient.

Cllr Philip Davis, Chair of the city council’s Licensing and Public Protection Committee, said: “Falls down open cellar hatches and the simple measures to prevent them are well known. This could easily have resulted in the customer sustaining a fatal injury.

“Officers will continue to take action where minimum standards of health and safety are not met or flouted.”

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