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Retail company fined £450,000 for failings that led to girl’s injury

A London based company has admitted a health and safety offence after a falling barrier struck a young girl at a shopping centre in Glasgow.

Arcadia Group Ltd, a multinational retail company, pled guilty to a contravention of Sections 3(1) and Section 33(1)(a) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and was fined £450,000 at Glasgow Sheriff Court today after the incident within Topshop at Silverburn Shopping Centre.

The court heard that on 7 February 2017 a 10 year old girl was accompanying her mother on a shopping trip to Silverburn Shopping Centre. They entered Topshop and had been looking at hats. As the girls' mother was returning a hat to the display, which was in the vicinity of the cash desk and the queue barrier, she heard a scream and turned round to see the girl lying on the floor with the queue barrier on top of her.

Staff and members of the public immediately assisted to remove the barrier from the girl. She was taken to the Royal Hospital for Children where she was treated for a skull fracture, laceration and haematoma.

The investigation found that the company had failed to ensure that a safe system of work was implemented for the transfer of two queue barriers from their Argyle Street branch to the Silverburn shop and had also failed to ensure that the queue barriers were properly secured to the floor in accordance with fitting instructions and maintained to ensure that they did not fall. Consequently they were both insecure and a risk.

Alistair Duncan, Head of Health and Safety Division said:

"This was a foreseeable and avoidable accident which resulted in the severe injury and permanent disfigurement of a young girl.

"Arcadia Group Ltd accepted liability and the Crown accepted their guilty plea to the contraventions of the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974.

"Since this incident the company has introduced new procedures to control and document the transfer of fixtures, fittings and store equipment between stores.

“Hopefully this prosecution and the sentence will remind other employers that failure to fulfil their obligations can have serious consequences and that they will be held to account for their failings."