Seafood restaurant group Loch Fyne has been fined £15,000 after a window cleaner was caught on camera balancing dangerously on a third floor ledge of one of its buildings.
The company, which is owned by pub group Greene King, admitted one breach of health and safety law and was also ordered to pay costs of £3,023. Wayne Mallon, the self-employed cleaner at the centre of the health and safety scandal, pleaded guilty to three health and safety charges at Bath Magistrates' Court and was fined £2,000 on Monday.
Mallon was filmed scaling the ledges of the third floor of the Loch Fyne-owned Milsoms Hotel building in Bath without ladders or safety equipment, reported the BBC. The footage, posted last September on YouTube, quickly went viral has attracted more than 90,000 views to date.
It came to the attention of the health and safety team at Bath and North East Somerset Council (Banes), which brought charges against Mallon and Loch Fyne. The film was shown to magistrates and Loch Fyne admitted allowing a contractor to work at height in an unsafe manner.
Robin Wood, representing Banes, told the court that the firm had a duty of care to contractors, adding: "If a suitable risk assessment had been carried out, Mr Mallon would not have endangered himself or others below in the way he did.
"There were a number of documents in place to make sure a risk assessment was possible but they were not being used and had not been checked by the company for more than eight years. We have no evidence that this happened on more than one occasion, except he seemed to know what he was doing."
Speaking outside court, a Loch Fyne spokesman said the company took health and safety "extremely seriously" and expected the same from its contractors.
"We accept today's decision and are grateful this isolated incident in Bath was brought to our attention.
"As a result we have put tighter measures in place to prevent anything similar happening again, including stricter procedures for our restaurant manager to follow when using external contractors."
Loch Fyne, which employs 1,234 staff at 42 restaurants and four hotels, said it was the first time it had ever appeared in court.