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Cheltenham Everyman pays £9.5k after woman falls into delivery bay

The Everyman Theatre in Cheltenham. Photo: geograph.org.uk The Everyman Theatre in Cheltenham. Photo: geograph.org.uk
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Cheltenham Everyman Theatre has been forced to pay out more than £9,500 following an incident in which a member of the public was left unconscious.

The theatre was prosecuted by Cheltenham Borough Council after a woman fell 2.3 metres through an unsecured ‘drayman gate’, which allows deliveries to be dropped from the street level to the basement area of the venue. The incident took place on Christmas Day, 2014, and the woman was left unconscious and with injuries to her head, back, arms and leg.

An investigation into the incident led to senior environmental health officer Sara Ball finding that the theatre had “failed to control the risks associated with the use of the drayman gate for deliveries at the premises”.

The theatre has now been ordered to pay a fine of £6,600, plus a victim surcharge of £120 and full costs of £2,878 after pleading guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.

After a hearing at Cheltenham Magistrates on January 25, Ball said: “As a result of the failings of the Everyman Theatre, a member of the public was injured and, during this very busy Christmas period, other members of the public were at significant risk of injury.”

She added: “The incident could have been avoided if the Everyman Theatre had completed a suitable and sufficient risk assessment, which would have led them to identify and implement measures to control the risks associated with the use of the gate, and members of the public would not have been exposed to the risk to their health and safety.”

Everyman Theatre chief executive Geoffrey Rowe said he “sincerely” regretted the incident.

“It was an unfortunate oversight that the gate was left unlocked. The Everyman takes health and safety very seriously, and we have robust procedures and policies. There has not been a reportable accident in the 55 years of the company’s existence. We immediately reviewed the way deliveries are made to prevent such an accident happening again,” he added.

In December 2014, a former stage manager, Rachael Presdee, was awarded £3.7 million in compensation after an accident at London’s Soho Theatre left her paralysed.

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