Brewery fined £44k after man falls through trap door

York Brewery Co. has been fined more than £44,000 after a delivery driver fell five foot through a trap door and into a below ground cellar at one of its pubs.

The Last Drop in York is owned by York Brewery Co.

The man was making a delivery to The Last Drop Inn in Colliergate in York on 13 July 2017 at the time of the incident. 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.

hat area of the pub was in the dark and at the time of 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.

He 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, the man was unable to work for three months, unable to drive for six weeks and is still experiencing ongoing shooting pains and discomfort, according to City of York Council.

Following an investigation by City of York Council, the owners of the pub – York Brewery Co. – pleaded guilty at York Magistrates Court on Monday (25 September), and were ordered to pay £39,480 in fines, costs of £4,972.54 and a surcharge £170 (total £44,622.54) for failing to address serious health and safety breaches.

At the time of the incident, the premises had no physical barriers to prevent falls into the cellar if the trap door (in the floor) 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.

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.”

Since the accident, the former trap door has been sealed shut.

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