Company Serving Liquid Nitrogen Cocktails Prosecuted

Most will recall the story of Gaby Scanlon who drank a “Nitro Jaeger” (a cocktail containing liquid nitrogen) in a Lancaster wine bar whilst celebrating her 18th birthday in 2012. Miss Scanlon had her stomach removed after consuming the lethal drink.

Last month Oscar’s Wine Bar Ltd was sentenced after pleading guilty to a charge under Section 3 of the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 which requires employers to ensure, as far as reasonably practicable, that persons are not exposed to risks to their health and safety risks. The wine bar was fined £100,000 and ordered to pay £40,000 in costs.

The company accepted that it had not carried out a suitable and sufficient risk assessment and had failed to have a safe system in place. Furthermore, they had not warned customers of the risks of drinking such cocktails or advised customers how to drink the cocktail safely. Judge Pamela Badley remarked that the “failings fell very far short of standards” commenting that it was “astonishing that no risk assessment had ever been carried out”.

Forbes comment

This case reinforces the need for businesses to ensure that all activities are thoroughly risk assessed, and that safe systems of work are fully implemented.

In this case, a Health and Safety officer had attended the premises in the months prior to the incident and had sent a letter with guidance on liquid nitrogen usage but the company had failed to act on those warnings. Any warnings provided by the HSE should acted upon immediately and all improvements should be documented. Risk assessments should be reviewed and updated on a regular basis.

Sarah Wilkinson

About Sarah Wilkinson

Solicitor in the Insurance department
This entry was posted in Regulatory.

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