Golfing outlet fined £65,000 after employee seriously hurt in fall

Nov 20, 2014

The 22-year-old visualmerchandiser was working on top of the changing rooms, in a small space when she had the accident, in May last year, Aylesbury Crown Court heard this week.

As a result she suffered life-changing injuries to her right wrist, both ankles, left and right heels and right foot. The court heard that she had developed arthritis as a result of the injuries.

American Golf Discount Centre Ltd appeared for sentence, after previously admitting a breach under s2(1) and s33(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, at its store at The Place Retail Park, Elder Gate, Milton Keynes.

The court heard they had failed in eight areas, including:
  • Having no safe system of work for this work at height activity;
  • No risk assessment;
  • No planning, proper training or supervision for the work.

The company had previously pleaded guilty – at the earliest opportunity – in September at Milton Keynes Magistrates Court. 

Her Honour Judge Montgomery QC advised that the appropriate fine would have been £100,000 had it not been for the company’s early guilty plea. The fine was therefore reduced to £65,000 and the company was ordered to pay full costs of £6,115.56 and a statutory surcharge of £120. 

Chris Londy, head of environmental health and trading standards at Milton Keynes Council, said: “We are very pleased with the result and fine imposed as it reiterates the importance of treating health & safety seriously.

"While the term ‘health and safety’ is sometimes – and often incorrectly – associated with trivial matters, true health and safety breaches can have devastating consequences, up to and including death. Falls from height are the biggest cause of workplace deaths and are one of the main causes of major injury." 

The council has worked with American Golf Disocunt Centre since the incident to introduce major changes to the company’s management of health and safety.  

Mr Londy said: “It is crucial that employers avoid the need to work at height where they can and minimise risks by ensuring that each activity is properly planned and organised."

“This includes conducting a suitable and sufficient risk assessment for the work, producing a safe system of work for the activity and providing proper training and equipment for the work." 

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