Pizza Express fined following Health and Safety breach
A maintenance worker who fell from the window of Pizza Express in Soho, is now a tetraplegic, with serious injuries to his spine.
Kamil Pisarek, aged 28 at the time of the incident in 2011, was working in Romilly Street at Kettner's restaurant. He was asked, along with three colleagues, to carry a weighty cabinet up a staircase at the back of the restaurant. The cupboard, weighing 168kg, became stuck on the landing of the first floor close to a window. Whilst trying to manoeuvre the cabinet, Pisarek fell from the window, falling five metres to the ground.
Pizza Express (Restaurants) Ltd pleaded guilty to a breach of the Health & Safety at Work Act. The company admitted that it had failed to protect the welfare, health and safety of its employees. Pizza Express was fined £200,000 and had to pay costs of £58,453. The cabinet member for public protection, from Westminster City Council, Nickie Aiken, said:
“This was an awful incident, and this young man suffered life-changing injuries which were wholly avoidable. We hope the sentence sends out a strong message to any businesses that are ever tempted to cut corners.”
Under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, all employers have a duty of care to their work force. The act provides a legal framework to encourage places of work to have high standards of safety, with the use of PPE (personal protective equipment) and special workwear for anyone in contact with hazardous chemicals, working at height or any other dangerous occupation.