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EXCLUSIVE: London Zoo facing fine after woman cleaning out hawks fell off dodgy ladder

FINED: The London Zoological Society admitted health and safety failings

THE owner of London Zoo has apologised and is facing a fines after an employee was left injured after falling off a ladder while cleaning an aviary housing birds of prey.

The Zoological Society of London (ZSL), which owns the world famous attraction in north London, pleaded guilty to two health and safety offences at Westminster Magistrates Court in connection with the accident.

The court heard that Angelina Lawson, a zoo keeper from the Animal Activities Department, which runs falconry displays, was cleaning perching shelves for the raptors in the hawk aviary with a "defective step ladder".

She fell, hitting her head, and was left concussed with grazing and a neck injury on July 16 2016.

FALL: The accident happened in a hawk aviary at the zoo

The broken ladder she was on had been skipped but then brought back into use.

A spokesman for Westminster Council, which brought the prosecution, said: "The injured person was using a defective stepladder at the time of the accident.

"They had not received adequate health and safety training or suitable and sufficient risk assessment."

A spokesman for the zoological society said: "We attended Westminster Magistrates Court to plead guilty to charges related to a zookeeper falling from a stepladder when cleaning an aviary bird ledge in 2016.

"The zookeeper fell off a stepladder, resulting in a concussion and a grazed elbow.

"While ladder training had started to be rolled out at the time of the incident, unfortunately the person concerned had not yet received that training.

SHOW: The animal activities department puts on falconry and other displays

"We are sorry that one of our employees was injured at work and after working closely with Westminster Council to assist with their inquiries, we accept that on this occasion we did not meet our own high standards.

"While accepting our guilty plea, it was acknowledged that the Zoo is a particularly complex site.

"For this reason the health and safety of our staff and visitors is very important to ZSL and we are continually assessing, reviewing and implementing procedures.

"Since the incident, we have updated our health and safety policy, initiated new mandatory training schemes and launched an e-learning platform for staff."

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