The owners of a well-known Edinburgh gift shop have been prosecuted and fined for breaching health and safety laws after a customer suffered an accident on their premises.
The incident occurred at the Gold Brothers shop, which was then known as The Auld Christmas Shop, back in October 2009. A customer who was browsing in the shop, fell through an open hatch leading to the basement, which had been left open so that staff could access lower level stockrooms. The customer suffered a badly broken ankle after falling into the open stairwell and trapping her ankle between treads.
Following the incident, Environmental Health officers from the local council were called in to investigate. The owners of the shop were found to have breached health and safety regulations, which put their customers in danger. Had the measures taught in most health and safety training courses been put in place, the incident may not have occurred.
In Edinburgh Sheriff Court, Gold Brothers pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and were fined a total of £16,000.
Commenting on the case, Councillor Lesley Hinds said:
“This incident shows the potential dangers when hatches are used to gain access to basements or cellars.
“It was wholly avoidable and totally unacceptable. Businesses must carry out suitable risk assessments to ensure there is a safe means of accessing cellars and to protect workers and customers.”