A Coventry business and associated director has been fined a total of £17,683 and ordered to pay costs of £25,767.71 after pleading guilty to health and safety offences.

On 12 February 2022, a member of the public, visiting The Pilot, Burnaby Road, Coventry made their way through the establishment to find the toilets, however accidentally went through an unlocked staff door, unchallenged.

This resulted in them walking through the staff corridor to another door, which led directly on to a steep flight of stairs down to an unused basement where they fell down those stairs and suffered injuries to both their face and body which have continued to impact their life significantly ever since the accident.

The Company, Pilot Entertainment Ltd (PEL) and Director, Mr Gulrez Akhter pleaded guilty to the charges at Birmingham Magistrates Court on the 23 February 2024 and sentencing took place on the 20 May 2024.

The Company was fined £16,750 and was ordered to pay investigation costs of £12,883.85 and a victim surcharge of £1,670.00.

Mr Akhter, in his role as Company Director was separately fined £933.00, ordered to pay investigation costs of £12,883.85 and a victim surcharge of £93.00.  

Officers from the Coventry City Council Food and Safety team undertook a full investigation into the incident, and identified failings by the business in relation to their responsibilities to ensure people not in their employment were not exposed to risks to their health and safety.

Had the business put suitable and sufficient control measures in place, this accident would not have occurred.

PEL pleaded guilty to the following offence:

  • Failure of PEL to conduct its undertaking in such a way as to ensure, so far as was reasonably practicable, that persons not in their employment who may be affected thereby, including customers of the pub, were not exposed to risks to their health or safety in relation to the risks arising from the operation of The Pilot public house.

With Mr Akter, as Company Director pleaded guilty to:

  • The commission of that offence was attributable to the consent, connivance or
  • were attributable to the neglect of the director, Gulrez Akhtar.

Following the incident, the business put in place additional controls and training to staff to prevent a similar occurrence happening again.

The premises was taken over in April 2023 by a different company and is no longer run by PEL.

Davina Blackburn, Strategic Lead for Regulation at the Council, said:

“This case highlights the importance of businesses taking health and safety seriously, and how simple control measures can have a big impact on keeping both staff and customers safe.

“It is important that businesses keep health and safety as a priority and seek further help to ensure they are meeting all legal requirements if necessary. In particular, pubs have a duty to ensure that their customers are not exposed to risk whilst using their establishments.”

Cllr Abdul Khan, Deputy Leader of Coventry City Council, added:

“Health and Safety offences are serious, and the courts have sent out a strong message that keeping people safe is vitally important. People who have health and safety concerns should report them.”

We would encourage all businesses to take a look at our website and the Health and Safety Executive website. Health and safety concerns in Coventry businesses can be reported to ehcommercial@coventry.gov.uk or call 08085834333”.

Published: Tuesday, 28th May 2024