The man in question had attended the cinema venue to watch a film. At the end of the film, he realised he could not find his keys or phone. The man tried to check under the seat, at which point the reclining foot rest began to come down. This caused catastrophic injuries to his neck.
The man’s wife attempted to hold the footrest up to prevent injury. She alerted staff who attempted to free the man for 10-15 minutes. They were unable to get the button which operated the footrest to work. As a result, they had to break it off.
The man was taken to hospital by paramedics, where he later died as a result of hypoxic brain injuries.
An inquest found that the seat responsible was missing a bar that would have allowed him to be released by hand. The cinema in question later pleaded guilty to two charges, one under the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974, the other under the Management and Safety of Work Regulations 1999. They had failed to ensure that persons were not exposed to risk and failed to make a safe and suitable risk assessment between January 2007 and March 2018 in relation to the use of powered seating in cinema.
The company was fined £750,000 and ordered to pay court costs of £130,000 as well as a £170 victim surcharge.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the first incident that they have had involving these seats. In 2013, another venue was being refurbished, and the seats were moved to a different location. The council then discovered that the seats had the wrong type of foot-rest actuators fitted, which presented a trap risk.
The cinema accepted that they should have carried out a risk assessment on the seats before they were moved. This would have identified the incorrect type of foot-rest actuator. Speaking at the trial, the coroner said there had been ‘missed opportunities to undertake comprehensive safety checks of the chairs.’
The Importance of Health & Safety
This case sadly highlights the importance of being vigilant when it comes to Health & Safety. Most companies have a grasp of Health & Safety, but it often does not take the priority when it comes to running a business.
It’s also important to have a thorough risk assessment for your company. In this particular case, if the company in question had completed a risk assessment, this incident may never have occurred.More News