Topshop retail group fined £450,000 after girl injured in store

A retail company has been fined £450,000 after a girl was badly injured when a queue barrier toppled on to her.

The 10-year-old suffered a fractured skull in the incident at the Topshop store in Silverburn Shopping Centre, Glasgow.

Topshop owner Arcadia Group Ltd was fined at Glasgow Sheriff Court on Wednesday after it admitted breaching health and safety laws.

Prosecutors said the girl was with her mother on a shopping trip in February 2017 when they went into the store.

As the mother returned a hat to the display, she heard a scream and turned round to see her daughter lying on the floor with the barrier on top of her.

Staff and members of the public removed the barrier from the girl and she was taken to the Royal Hospital for Children for treatment to a skull fracture, laceration and haematoma, prosecutors said.

The Crown Office, which revealed details of the case following the hearing, said an investigation found the firm had failed to ensure a safe system of work was implemented for the transfer of two queue barriers from its shop in Glasgow’s Argyle Street to the Silverburn branch.

Queue barrier
The queue barrier toppled on to the girl while she was shopping with her mother (Crown Office/PA)

It also failed to ensure the queue barriers were properly secured to the floor, prosecutors added.

The group pleaded guilty to contraventions of the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974.

Alistair Duncan, head of the health and safety division at the Crown Office, said: “This was a foreseeable and avoidable accident which resulted in the severe injury and permanent disfigurement of a young girl.

“Since this incident the company has introduced new procedures to control and document the transfer of fixtures, fittings and store equipment between stores.

“Hopefully this prosecution and the sentence will remind other employers that failure to fulfil their obligations can have serious consequences and that they will be held to account for their failings.”