News & Views

William Hill prosecuted after robber attacks worker

BY Thomas Elliott
Health & Safety
BG Orange

William Hill has been fined £10,000 for failing to protect its staff from work-related violence. 

A female employee suffered whiplash when she was attacked during an armed robbery at the Netherton premises in Bootle.  

The injured employee and a female were locking up the betting shop for the evening when a man leapt from a crouched position near to the door and dragged her to the ground.  Whilst the attacker was carrying out this assault another man entered the betting shop and produced what is believed to be a knife and demanded cash.  

The injured employee was off work from more than 3 days, however William Hill failed to notify the enforcing authorities in accordance with the RIDDOR Regulations.  It was approximately 3 months after the incident that the authorities were notified. 

Health and safety officers from Sefton Council carried out an inspection of the premises specifically in relation to work-related violence several months prior to the incident and identified a number of measures that could be taken to reduce the risks.  William Hill carried out a subsequent risk assessment following the inspection. 

The assessment highlighted a number of high risk areas and indicated that consideration should be given to the installation of additional security lighting outside the premises and CCTV to cover the front door.  Another recommendation the risk assessment highlighted was the installation of a gate to prevent access to an alley at the side of the premises that would be a perfect location for attackers to hide from view.  

Council officers re-visited the site with Merseyside Police and senior management from William Hill to look at anti-violence measures.  Following this visit the bookmaker installed the gate, but took no further action in relation to additional security lighting and CCTV. 

William Hill pleaded guilty for failing to comply with the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations and were fined £6,000.  They were also fined £4,000 for failing to report under RIDDOR and ordered to pay full costs of £2,882. 

Helen Evitt, principal environmental health officer at the council, said: “It is important that businesses consider the implications of work-related violence within their premises, as it can have serious consequences for employees. As victims, they may suffer physical injuries along with psychological effects, such as anxiety and stress”. 

“Employee absence arising from work-related violence incidents can represent a real financial cost through low staff morale and turnover, which can affect the confidence of a business, profitability, and may attract expensive insurance premiums.”

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