Luton beauty business fined £50,000 after customer fell down open trapdoor

Judge criticises 'casual attitude to safety and the protection of the public'

Friday, 21st May 2021, 10:08 am

A Luton retail business has pleaded guilty to a serious health and safety offence after a member of the public was injured in an incident involving an open trapdoor inside the premises.

Beauty Cosmetic (Luton) Ltd trading as City Queen Cosmetics, 48 George Street, Luton, was sentenced at Luton Magistrates Court on April 29 for leaving the trapdoor open and unguarded during opening hours on Sunday, October, 28, 2018. This resulted in a member of the public who was shopping at the time, falling down the trapdoor, sustaining injuries.

During sentencing the District Judge, D.J. Leigh-Smith was shown photos of the trap door, the victim’s injuries and the lack of effective measures put in place after the accident.

Beauty Cosmetic open trap door
Beauty Cosmetic open trap door

The Judge remarked that, despite the accident having happened, when a council officer investigated the accident, there was still a complete lack of adequate measures put in place and the company's “continued casual attitude to safety and the protection of the public showed them to be highly culpable. In fact the continued absence of measures was a positive aggravation”.

Beauty Cosmetic (Luton) Ltd was fined £50,000 with a statutory surcharge of £170 and costs awarded to the council of £2,230.

The judge decided on a starting point of £75,000 and reduced this by 30% for an early guilty plea.

Cllr Jacqui Burnett, portfolio holder for public protection, said "Employers have a duty towards the health and safety of both employees and members of the public. The council will have no hesitation in taking relevant enforcement action where health and safety is put at risk.”

Anyone with concerns about safety issues in a business can email [email protected]Some workplaces however, such as manufacturing, construction and vehicle repair are inspected and regulated by the Health and Safety Executive.