In 2017, a 10 year old was struck by a queue barrier weighing around 110kg after crawling beneath the object, which struck his skull and killed him.
Following this tragedy, it was discovered that no risk assessment had been carried out on the queue barrier, either pre-installation or into its use once in store. The barrier - inherently unstable if freestanding or inadequately secured - had been installed by a shop-fitting contractor with just two wood screws and rawl plugs at each leg/footpath.
General health and safety documentation did acknowledge the presence of children on-site and how they may be inclined to interact with the store and items, but this was not considered in relation to installation of equipment, such as the queue barriers.
After the investigation, Topshop was sentenced for breaching Section 3 of the Health and Safety at Work Act and fined £1m.
Lessons learned following this case, emphasised the importance of risk assessments and how although retail is commonly perceived as low risk, it should be reminder that low risk does not mean no risk. Consideration should be given to all people that can reasonably be expected to be present, and that it is entirely foreseeable that parents may bring children with them.
Are you confident in how to complete risk assessments for your organisation, and the assessments and practical application? If not, why not attend a Risk Assessment and Method Statement (RAMS) Course. This RAMS Course will give delegates the ability to carry out suitable and sufficient risk assessments.
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