Ceiling collapse at the Apollo Theatre
December 20, 2013
By Beth King, head of personal injury.
My thoughts go out to the injured and their families. It appears that none of the injuries are thought to be life threatening but they could well be life changing for some of the victims. And they probably won't be having the sort of Christmas they were expecting to enjoy.
Due to wonderful work by our emergency services, no one was killed and, in time, all the victims should be able to go home, thanks also to our much loved NHS.
Of course we don't yet know the full facts so we don't know what went wrong. It's an old building and it probably costs a fortune to maintain. In Law, the owners or occupiers of the theatre don't have to make it perfect or guard against every possible eventuality but they do have to do everything reasonable to keep visitors reasonably safe when using the theatre. Theatre employees, which also includes self-employed actors and performers, are owed an even higher duty under Workplace Regulations.
The question will be whether they did everything reasonably necessary to keep people safe. The fact that it's an old building means that it's difficult to maintain it to the sort of safety standards you might expect in a modern building. But, at the same time, because it's an old building, they should have surveyed or inspected it on a regular basis to find any problems and to make sure that any leaks were fixed before the ceiling filled with water (if that is what happened) and the ceiling collapsed on an auditorium full of people.
Let's hope everyone gets better quickly and a grand old building can be restored to its former glory.
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