Mariott fined £15,000 for health and safety breach in Bristol

25 October 2010 by
Mariott fined £15,000 for health and safety breach in Bristol

Marriott International has been fined £15,000 after a woman fell through a ceiling at the four-star, 301-bedroom Bristol Marriott Hotel City Centre and fractured part of her spine.

The company pleaded guilty at Bristol Magistrates Court for neglecting their general duty to a visiting contractor.

Margaret Davis, 50, suffered two compressed fractures of her vertebrae and a fractured heel after falling eight feet on to a concrete floor in November 2009 when she unknowingly stepped on a hatch in an attic space.

She was working for a contractor, Sustain Ltd, undertaking a survey of machinery rooms in the hotel with a view to providing insulation. But crucial safety checks were not carried out before she climbed into the loft space.

An investigation by Bristol City Council's public health services team found there had been inadequate signage, a failure to follow key procedures relating to contractors and a lack of health and safety briefings.

Davis was absent from work for 10 weeks and required 12 weeks of physiotherapy. Expecting to make a full recovery, she was not seeking compensation, but wanted to prevent anyone else being injured.

The court heard that the improvement notice served on Marriott had been complied with and the company had also added additional safety features.

Marriott's loss prevention managers for Europe and the West, Peter Walsh and Eddie Haste, were in court and the company's £1.8m health and safety budget was outlined to highlight Marriott's commitment to preventing accidents.

Chair of the magistrates, Rachel Simmons, said the court accepted this was an isolated lapse and praised Marriott for quickly rectifying the problem.

Marriott was also ordered to pay the full costs of £4,607 and a victim surcharge of £15 within 28 days.

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By Janet Harmer

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