Bannatyne gym in Maida Vale prosecuted after death of worker in swimming pool tragedy

·2-min read
<p>Highbury Corner Magistrates Court</p> (PA)

Highbury Corner Magistrates Court

(PA)

A west London gym is facing criminal charges after a worker died of a heart attack while cleaning the swimming pool.

Kamal Al-Hirsi, 56, sank under the water as he completed two lengths of the pool at Bannatyne Health Club in Maida Vale on October 10, 2017.

The popular staff member had earlier dived to clean the bottom of the pool, and was pulled unconscious from the water at around 10am by gym members and colleagues who tried to revive him.

Bannatyne Fitness Ltd has now been charged with a string of alleged health and safety breaches, following a Camden Council investigation in the wake of Mr Al-Hirsi’s death.

It is said the gym did not have safe procedures and proper equipment for cleaning the swimming pool floor, while two key components for the pool vacuuming machine – a brush head and a telescopic handle – were allegedly missing.

The fitness firm is accused of “failing to provide such information, instruction, training and supervision as was necessary to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety at work of its employees”, and its risk assessments were also said to be critically lacking.

The gym is also accused of not responding quickly enough after Mr Al-Hirsi’s death, by “failing to undertake an investigation in the immediate aftermath of the fatal incident involving the death of Mr Al-Hirsi, in order to identify the failings in relation to health and safety of employees at work at the premises and to ensure risk control measures after the fatal incident were adequate to prevent a recurrence”.

According to the charges, it took the internal investigation more than a year to deliver a report, on October 23, 2018.

The Darlington-based fitness firm, which was founded by Dragon’s Den entrepreneur Duncan Bannatyne, appeared at Highbury Corner magistrates court on April 22 to face the charges for the first time.

The company elected a trial by jury, and the case was sent to Snaresbrook crown court for a plea hearing on Thursday, May 20.

No pleas have been formally entered.

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