07 Jan 2016

Leeds bar prosecuted for serious health and safety breaches


The company that runs a Leeds city centre bar has been prosecuted for serious health and safety breaches that left a man fighting for his life.

On 19 July 2014, David Caminal visited the New Conservatory, on Albion Place, where he was served and drank beer line cleaner instead of ale.

Following a thorough investigation with West Yorkshire Police, environmental health officers felt there was sufficient evidence to prosecute TNC Music and Bars Ltd and director Nicholas Bird under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

Having pleaded guilty, TNC Music and Bars Ltd was fined £5,000 and ordered to pay a £120 victim surcharge at Leeds magistrates court today.

Company director Nicholas Bird also pleaded guilty and fined £20,000 and must pay a £120 victim surcharge.

Total costs of £17,859 will be split equally between the company and its director.

Councillor Mark Dobson, executive member for environmental protection and community safety said:

“What started out as a day off, sightseeing in Leeds ended in tragedy for Mr Caminal.

“When taken on their own, the events that led to this incident seem minor but the knock-on effects had a catastrophic outcome leaving us in no doubt that we had to prosecute.

“While some might dismiss health and safety as bureaucratic red tape, it is there to protect us all.

“It’s my sincere hope that this case shows just how important it is that businesses remain vigilant, follow the correct procedures and ensure their staff are fully informed. It should also demonstrate just how seriously we take health and safety at work.

“We appreciate that this incident has been life changing for Mr Caminal and we’d like to wish him and his family the very best for the future.”

Prior to the incident, staff started the process of cleaning a line as one of the beers had run out. Normally coloured line cleaner was ordered and used by staff but clear cleaner had been delivered instead and accepted.

To indicate that the beer was off, the sign on the pump had been turned round.

A new member of staff was advised to clean and tidy the bar area. However, information was not relayed to this person or other staff present that the particular line was off and being cleaned.

The new member of staff was also not advised that it was normal practice for staff to turn the pump sign round to indicate to customers and staff that a particular drink was not available. The sign was turned back round.

When Mr Caminal and a colleague ordered a sample, a member of staff poured what they thought was pale ale. Due to yeast deposits in the line, the clear cleaner turns a straw colour and looked similar in colour to the beer taster ordered.

Mr Caminal ingested the beer line cleaner and immediately reacted to the substance and emergency services were called.

The investigation was carried out by Leeds City Council’s environmental health officers who are responsible for enforcing health and safety law at around 18,000 businesses premises in Leeds.

As well as inspecting premises to ensure businesses stay on the right side of health and safety law, the team are keen to work with businesses to promote best practice and offer their expert advice so employers can meet their health and safety obligations.

Businesses can contact the health and safety team on 0113 247 7791 or hsaw@leeds.gov.uk.

For media enquiries contact:

Leeds City Council Communications team