Clapham Grand Fined After Employee Suffers Serious Injuries

After falling to basement through unguarded trap door

The company that runs The Grand nightclub in Clapham Junction has been ordered to pay more than £10,000 in fines and court costs after an employee suffered serious injuries after falling through an unguarded trap door that led into the basement.

The woman, who was employed as a bar supervisor, suffered serious injuries to her legs and lower back that kept her off work for three months.

The trap door had been left open in the dimly lit club by a colleague who was carrying out repairs and adjustments to CCTV cameras.

And even though the accident happened during daylight hours, the lack of any natural light in the club, combined with the very low lighting inside the premises, meant that staff would not have been able to see the gaping hole in the floor.

The trapdoor was also situated right behind a door, and in a part of the building that was regularly used by staff to move about the building.

But despite the obvious dangers, no warning signs were put up, the area was not roped off and staff would have had no idea that the trapdoor was open. There was also no light emanating from the basement that would have indicated it was open.

The company that runs The Grand, Stony Valley Ltd, was prosecuted by Wandsworth Council for its failure to ensure a safe workplace for its staff.

At Richmond Magistrates Court, the company pleaded guilty to one offence under the Health and Safety at Work Act and was fined £7,000. It was also ordered to pay the council's legal costs of £3,500 and a victim surcharge of £15.

Environment spokesman Cllr Jonathan Cook said: "Fortunately the member of staff has recovered and has been able to return to work, but this was a nasty accident that could have ended in tragedy.

"There were no warnings to other staff members that someone was working in the basement and had left this trapdoor open. It wasn't roped off or fenced off and this part of the building was virtually pitch black. If you didn't know there was a hole in the floor you would have never been able to see it.

"To their credit the company does appear to have taken robust steps to ensure that another accident of this type should not happen again, and on the whole The Grand does have a good safety record, but this was a bad accident that could have easily been avoided with a little bit of common sense and awareness of the obvious dangers posed by this way of working."


August 18, 2013