The Leading News & Information Service For The Facilities, Workplace & Built Environment Community

Weather Hit Waterstones Sign Kills Employee

14 January 2015 | Updated 01 January 1970

A fatal injury occurred earlier this week when a staff member at the Blackpool branch of Waterstones in Blackpool was crushed when a sign, loosened by high winds, fell on her.

The death of Margaret Sheridan, 68, occurred on Monday evening at approximately 17.30pm when a sign at the front of the shop in Bank Hey Street fell and trapped her.

Despite the efforts of passers by and emergency services, Ms Sheridan was confirmed dead at the scene.

A joint inquiry has been launched by Lancashire Constabulary and Blackpool Council and it is thought that it is inevitable investigators will see if the extreme weather conditions could have weakened the shop sign.

Waterstones has issued a statement on the tragic incident: ‘Waterstones confirms that a tragic accident at its Blackpool shop has resulted in the death of one of its booksellers. Margaret Sheridan was a much loved and well respected colleague. We offer our deepest condolences to her family. The accident is being investigated by the authorities.’

TWIFM asked a company representative the following questions:

1. Following the tragic accident, has Waterstones instigated a risk assessment for its other stores?


2. Given the prior warning of gale force weather, does Waterstones have a system in place to check on safety, especially exterior shop signs?

The spokesperson declined to answer these questions and replied: ‘We are at the moment unable to give any further comment or confirm further detail, as there is an investigation underway.’

A witness, who preferred not to be named, told the BBC that Bank Hey Street was "known for being a bit of a wind-trap….It's a very, very windy street. It's not the first sign to fall down."

Talking to TWIFM, a spokesman for Blackpool Council stated that although there had been an interim meeting between its officials and the Lancashire Police, it was 'too early to speculate' on the cause of the accident and on whether the particular nature of the street had led to the death.


Pictured: A Waterstones’ sign killed a staff member on Monday. Are signs, like this one in Nottingham, also at risk in the current stormy weather?

Article written by Mike Gannon | Published 14 January 2015


Related Articles

Crick Institute Brings Death to London

Construction contractor CMF Ltd has been fined after a 31-year-old sub-contractor, Richard Laco, died when working on a large and prestigious construction project in...

 Read Full Article
2 Million Fine for National Grid

One of the UK’s biggest gas distributers has been sentenced after admitting safety failings in relation to the death of a young boy. On 24 April 2014,...

 Read Full Article
On Site Leg Amputation Couldn't Save Man's Life

This week, Bradford Crown Court heard that on 17 August 2012, Simon Brook, an employee of Gwynn Davies-McTiffin Ltd was found lying seriously injured at the bottom of a...

 Read Full Article
THINK! Drink

Tell your friends not to drink drive this festive period says the latest THINK! campaign which started on December 7. For this year’s campaign, which runs to...

 Read Full Article
Scaffolding - Dangers Exposed

Date: August 21 - Construction company fined after worker fell from height A construction company has been fined after a worker suffered life changing injuries after...

 Read Full Article
Jail Time for Two Construction Killers

A construction manager has been jailed for gross negligence manslaughter, after a workman was crushed to death on a building site. Andrew Winterton, 52, was in charge...

 Read Full Article
Game, Set and Match as Landlords Get Record Fine

Friday may 26 saw crews called to fire in hedgerow at Wimbledon Tennis Club Four fire engines and 21 firefighters and officers went to a practice court area of the All...

 Read Full Article
Jail Time for Cost Cutting Killers. Whitbread in Hot Water Apology

Three company directors were jailed on May 19 following the death of a man who fell while working at a warehouse in Essex. Nikolai Valkov, 63, died in hospital after...

 Read Full Article
Spiked Railings Horror Fall Sees Manslaughter Convictions

A construction firm has been convicted of the manslaughter of two workers who died after falling from a central London balcony. One of the workers fell on to spiked...

 Read Full Article
Safety Fines Reflect Size of Guilty Firms

A construction company has been fined £3/4 million for asbestos failings; another for a falling load crush; another for a trench collapse; and another for an...

 Read Full Article