The owner of Topshop, Arcadia Group Ltd, has been prosecuted after a child was injured in its Silverburn store in Glasgow. The young girl was swinging on a queue barrier when it fell on her, causing a fractured skull which kept her off school for eight weeks. The barrier had been installed incorrectly and was not firmly attached to the floor. Arcadia Group Ltd was fined £450,000.
The accident was investigated by the relevant authorities and it was found that prior to the incident occurring, two queue barriers from Topshop’s Argyle Street branch had been delivered to the Silverburn site, without a safe system of work being used. It was also found that the queue barriers were not fitted to the ground as specified by the fitting instructions associated with the equipment.
5 tips to help avoid accidents from incorrectly installed equipment:
- Do a risk assessment for the equipment that you will be installing, for example storage systems, racking or barriers. Determine the correct place for the equipment to be installed, being mindful of the traffic routes (for both pedestrians and vehicles), and the intended usage.
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installing it. Check that the floor and/or the wall can take the weight of the equipment, and that you have the correct screws or bolts as appropriate to fit it securely. Work out the maximum load capacity, and inform workers not to exceed it in case it collapses or topples over.
- Make sure that competent workers install the equipment, and that they follow a safe system of work when transporting it and lifting it into place.
- Check the equipment straight after installation, and tighten any bolts at specified periods as detailed by the manufacturer. Inform workers how to use the equipment correctly.
- Regularly inspect the equipment to look for damage or wear and tear. Prevent any unauthorised use by putting up signs or barriers, especially if you have visitors or member of the public in the vicinity.
The above accident involving a child could have been prevented if the queue barrier had been securely fixed to the ground. Check your equipment carefully upon installation, and at regular intervals afterwards to make sure it is safe for use.