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Birmingham businessman paying damages following fall


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A Birmingham gift shop owner was ordered to pay £5,008 today (16 September 2021) after Birmingham Magistrates Court heard how an elderly customer fell down an open hatch into the store’s basement.


Shazad Butt (68) of Nansen Road, Birmingham, was fined £1,333 and ordered to pay costs of £3,542 and a £133 victim surcharge after he pleaded guilty to an offence under Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 on 2 September 2021.


Birmingham City Council brought the prosecution after an incident at Pam’s Love and Roses, 314 Coventry Road, Small Heath, on 21 December 2020 when the man fell into the basement because a hatch in the floor was left open.


The customer was taken to the hospital having dislocated their shoulder. His daughter visited the shop a couple of hours after the incident to complain when she found the hatch was open again.


Cllr Philip Davis, Chair of the city council’s Licensing and Public Protection Committee, said: “Falls down open cellar hatches and the simple measures to prevent them are well known. This could easily have resulted in the customer sustaining a fatal injury.


“Officers will continue to take action where minimum standards of health and safety are not met or flouted.”


The council’s Health and Safety Inspector, who investigated after being informed about the incident, prohibited the basement hatch from being left open unless suitable fall prevention measures were implemented.


The basement hatch was installed on 6 August 2020. After the incident, an alarm was fitted to it, and hazard tape also placed on the floor, but measures taken were still not sufficient.


Written by: David Watkins

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