Prezzo in Colchester fined over £20,000 after two-year-old burnt foot on floor-light
The unnamed child stepped barefoot on a recessed floor-light in the middle of a patio on June 15 last year.
The girl’s grandmother contacted Colchester Borough Council (CBC) and a health and safety officer carrying out an investigation two days later found that the recessed floor-light at the restaurant in Culver Street had been fitted with an incorrect bulb.
The floor-light recorded a temperature of 200C (400F), equivalent to a “hot iron”, a CBC spokesman said.
The spokesman added: “The officer also noted that no efforts had been made to prevent further use of the light or restrict access to it.”
The patio area has been in use since the restaurant opened in April 2005.
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Prezzo was fined £10,000 for each of two offences under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 – reduced from £15,000 per offence for early guilty plea – and ordered to pay a £120 victim surcharge and £1,464.76 in costs – totalling £21,584.76 on a 14-day collection order.
A spokesman for Prezzo said: “The health and safety of our customers is always Prezzo’s priority.
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“We take full responsibility for what happens on our premises, as in this case which involved an uplighter on the patio floor of our restaurant in Colchester.
“It appears that a bulb had been wrongly fitted and overheated, resulting in an injury to a child’s foot.
“Unfortunately this had not been identified earlier in the day, and we therefore pleaded guilty to the charges.
“We believe that the judgment yesterday was fair; and would also like to take this opportunity to apologise for any distress caused to the family.
“Prezzo has very robust safety procedures in our restaurants, which include regular checking and maintenance of all appliances and fittings.
“We have however made a number of changes and improvements to our procedures as a result of this incident, which we believe will ensure that such an event cannot happen again.”
Tina Bourne, portfolio holder for housing and public protection at CBC, said: “I am extremely pleased our health and safety officers were able to successfully prosecute this case, though it is deeply regrettable that a toddler was injured before the safety risk to staff and customers was exposed.
“The council does a tremendous job as the health and safety enforcing authority for 2,717 premises in the borough, including offices, shops, restaurants and takeaways. People who use these premises can be reassured that any breaches of health and safety regulations reported to us will be investigated and, where any incident meets the required legal threshold, those found to be in breach of the law will face prosecution in court.”