A LEISURE company has been fined £5,000 at St Helens Magistrates Court after pleading guilty to an offence under the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974.

The incident happened at The Ship Inn, Rainhill on October 12, last year when a quiz machine fell onto a three-year-old child. The child was taken to Whiston Hospital and spent four days in hospital as a result of the injuries sustained.

The 15-stone machine had been installed in the public house by Stretton Leisure Ltd., part of the Greenalls Group. It had been adapted by the addition of castors, which had been wrongly fitted leaving the machine unstable.

After pleading guilty to providing and installing a quiz machine for use by the public, which was not safe, the company was fined £5,000 and ordered to pay the local authority costs of £865.

Steve Massey, the council's Chief Environmental Health Officer, said: "Officers of the Environmental Health Service spent a considerable amount of time in investigating the causes of this accident and as a result, it is hoped that such accidents may be prevented in the future."

Councillor Richard Ward, chairman of Housing and Environmental Services Committee, said: "This accident demonstrates that serious injuries may occur, even in the most innocuous of places. Luckily, in this case a fatality did not occur, but it is important that all businesses be on their guard and look at any areas where there is a potential for accidents."

Information on Health & Safety at Work, or any other environmental health issue, may be obtained from the council's Environmental Health Service, 3rd Floor, Wesley House, Corporation Street, St Helens, tel. 01744 456338/456353.

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