The owners of the Last Drop Inn in York have been fined a total of £44,622.54 after a delivery driver was injured falling five feet down an open trap door.
Following an investigation by City of York Council, York Brewery Co pleaded guilty at York Magistrates Court yesterday for failing to address serious health and safety breaches.
On 13 July 2017, the driver fell into the cellar and sustained serious knee injuries including a dislocated right knee, torn medial collateral ligament, torn posterior cruciate ligament, cuts and bruises to his left arm and cuts and bruises to his ribcage, requiring intensive physiotherapy and surgery.
As a result of his injuries, he was unable to work for three months, unable to drive for six weeks and is still experiencing ongoing shooting pains and discomfort.
At the time of the incident, the premises had no physical barriers to prevent falls into the cellar if the trap door was open.
The court heard that the procedure in place at the time of the incident was that any member of staff using the cellar would inform all the other members of staff of their intention. They would then leave the cellar trap door open while they were in the cellar. A staff member at the pub stated that this could have occurred up to eight times a night.
The premises also stored gas cylinders in a corridor behind the bar on the ground floor. That area of the pub was in the dark and during the incident no lights had yet been turned on, which resulted in the driver moving out of the way to allow a staff member to access the light switch. As he did this the driver fell through the open cellar trap door, which occupied the whole width of the corridor.
The position of the cellar trap door meant that to move from behind the bar to access the kegs and gas cylinders it was necessary to walk over the cellar trap door.
The council carried out a health and safety inspection of the premises on 6 September 2017. The inspection found there was a safety chain attached to the corridor wall on one side of the cellar trap door with a yellow danger sign, but that it was ineffective as the fittings to fix the safety chain to the opposite wall were missing. There was also no safety chain on the other side of the corridor at the other side of the cellar trap door.
Since the accident, the company has relocated equipment in the cellar on to the ground floor of the building and sealed the former trap door shut.
A City of York Council spokeswoman said: "This was a serious breach of health and safety, which resulted in the driver sustaining life changing injuries. It was a miracle that no one else was seriously hurt or injured before this incident took place. Thanks to the council's public protection team's vigilance, these issues have been identified and customers protected."