Ms Collins, a student who was working part time in a Wilko store in Leicester, has been left paralysed due to severe spinal injuries caused when a metal cage full of paint tins fell on her on the shop floor.
Ms Collins was trying to move the cage, packed full with tins of paint, out of the lift and onto the shop floor. The cage itself was 6 foot high and loaded incorrectly, with 87.5 litres of paint on the top level, 87 litres on the middle level and 55 litres on the bottom level. Loading the paint in this way made the cage ‘top heavy’ and therefore more inclined to fall over. The lift was not level with the shop floor, and in moving the cage out of the lift, the cage fell on top of her.
It was found that there were no suitable risk assessments carried out, and the general risk assessment for the cage did not include moving it over uneven areas. Further to this, adequate training and supervision concerning safe use of cages or the lifts was not provided to employees.
The case against Wilko Retail Ltd was heard in Leicester Crown Court where they plead guilty to four offences under the Health & Safety at Work Act and were handed a £2.2million fine and ordered to pay £70,835 in costs. Judge Mooncey who imposed the high fine said that it had to “have a real economic impact”. Wilko Retail Ltd accept full responsibility for the accident.
The Leicester City Council public safety team brought the prosecution against Wilko Retail Ltd, and Team Manager Govind Mandora said that the fine reflected the seriousness of the case, and went on the say that “all businesses need to take heed and learn from this tragic case by taking their health and safety responsibilities seriously”.
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- Are your work practices current and appropriate?
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- Are your risk assessments suitable and sufficient?
- Do your staff comply with current procedures and working practices?
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