Birmingham pensioner has harrowing near-miss

Industry news roundup: week ended 28 Jan 2013:

Bingo has never been so dangerous: one pensioner nearly lost his life when his car windscreen was demolished by an unsecured barrier at a local Bingo hall.

Mr Kenneth Compton, a native of Great Barr, Birmingham, had just dropped his wife off at the Gala bingo hall in Erdington when an unsecured security gate weighing a quarter of a tonne unexpectedly fell down onto his vehicle’s bonnet. The weighty security gate demolished the front of the Renault Scenic and hit with such force that it actually went up through the windscreen and coming to rest embedded in the roof of the car – and somehow miraculously only giving Mr Compton a glancing blow.

The eighty year old pensioner was indeed lucky to be alive, as the force of such a road traffic accident could have easily slain him where he sat in the vehicle. However, Mr Compton’s personal injury claims only included a fractured eye socket and a serious head injury, suggesting that perhaps there’s a guardian angel keeping an eye on the man.

The incident was subject to an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive, with HSE inspectors discovering that the heavy metal grate had, at one point, been secured with a sturdy padlock. However, at an unknown date previous to the incident, the padlock had not just been removed but whomever had taken it did not bother to replace it, leaving it unsecured and balanced precariously, waiting for a hapless and unknowing victim to venture underneath the heavy guillotine-like blade of the metal gate.

Gala Leisure Limited, the owners of the Bingo hall, ended up pleading guilty to breaching several Health and Safety regulations, which earned it a fine of £25,000. The firm will most likely be found liable for the damages sustained to Mr Compton’s car – and more importantly to himself as well – and will be asked to pay the pensioner personal injury compensation.

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