Theatre Company prosecuted for fall that left worker paralysed
A stage manager suffered catastrophic injuries after plunging off a balcony in an incident that may have been foreseeable. The 38-year-old Australian woman had walked through an unmarked door and fell 3 metres off of a Juliet balcony, suffering severe spinal cord injury. She then spent 6 months in the hospital and was left partially paralysed after the workplace accident.
The court heard that the lock and bar that were originally placed across the door to prevent such an accident had been removed. The theatre had been unlit, and the woman had been looking for a light switch. The door was at the top of a staircase and had a curtain hung directly behind it, preventing the woman from seeing the drop.
An investigation was undertaken by Westminster Council officers who found that the door in question was an obvious high risk. The theatre company was ordered to pay a fine of £20,000 and £10,000 in costs as a result of the health and safety breaches. A civil case has been settled by the company, which released a statement expressing its regret.
Anyone who suffers an accident while on the job, including, but not limited to, a scaffolding fall, a mine collapse or a ladder fall, or as a result of an unsafe working environment, may be able to seek restitution through legal channels. A victim may also be in a position to make a claim for compensation for any pain and suffering that might have been directly caused by the incident.
Source: Express, “Theatre fined £20,000 for paralysing stage manager in stage collapse“, December 16, 2014