Pizza Express has been fined £200,000 after a maintenance worker was paralysed when he fell from a restaurant window while trying to move an item of catering equipment.
Kamil Pisarek, who was 28-years-old at the time of the incident, was left a tetraplegic after suffering serious spinal injuries when he fell five metres to the pavement below.
The accident occurred at a Soho branch of the restaurant chain when Mr Pisarek was asked to carry a heavy hot cupboard up a staircase leading from the first to the second floor, along with three other employees.
The hot cupboard, which weighed almost 170kg, became stuck on the first landing close to a low-level first floor window. As he attempted to free the unit, Mr Kamil toppled backwards through the window and onto the pavement.
Westminster City Council prosecuted PizzaExpress (Restaurants) Ltd for the incident in December 2011 after an investigation exposed serious safety failings.
Pizza Express had pleaded guilty to breaching section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 for failing to protect the health, safety and welfare of one of its employees.
At a hearing at Southwark Crown Court last weekm, the company was handed a fine £200,000 and ordered to pay costs amounting to £58,453.
Westminster City Council’s cabinet member for public protection, Cllr Nickie Aiken, said: “This was an awful incident, and this young man suffered life changing injuries which were wholly avoidable. We hope the sentence sends out a strong message to any businesses that are ever tempted to cut corners, especially when people’s lives and health could be put at risk.”