A hotel operator in Rutland has pleaded guilty to a breach of health and safety law and been ordered to pay more than £195,000 after a serious accident at work which left a man with life-changing injuries.
The prosecution arose from a serious accident at Barnsdale Hall Hotel on 24 May 2021 (trading as Barnsdale Hall Hotel (Resorts) Ltd). On that day, two employees of the Hotel, including a Mr Andrew Veasey, were tasked with removing a loose tree branch. This was done by raising Mr Veasey up with a non-integrated working platform.
The platform was attached to a JCB vehicle parked across a slope. As a result, when the platform was raised, the vehicle toppled over and crushed the roof of a car before plummeting into a bank, causing Mr Veasey serious injuries. Mr Veasey had to be resuscitated at the scene and sustained life-changing injuries which mean he is no longer able to care for himself.
With the full support of Mr Veasey and his family, an investigation into the incident was undertaken by Peterborough City Council, on behalf of Rutland County Council. This investigation revealed significant deficiencies in the Defendant’s risk assessments, level of training and instruction, safe use of machinery and system of work when carrying out non-routine tasks such as the one in question.
The case was heard at Leicester Magistrates Court on 19 September, where the defendant pleaded guilty to a Section 2 offence under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, whereby it is the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all their employees.
Barnsdale Hall Hotel was ordered to pay a fine of £146,700, together with £50,000 awarded for costs and a £190 Surcharge.
“This is an extremely serious case where failure to put appropriate health and safety measures in place has caused life-changing injuries to an individual, as well as irreparable damage to a family that will never be the same again,” said Councillor Christine Wise, Cabinet Member for Public Protection and Community Safety.
“The sentence imposed on the Defendant following their guilty plea should serve as a clear warning that employers have a duty of care towards their staff and action will be taken in response to breaches of health and safety law. The employers in question have taken all of the required regulatory action required in response to the findings of our investigation. However, nothing can return Mr Veasey to full health and so it is important those responsible are held accountable to the full extent of the law.”