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MAJOR FOOD RETAILER FINED OVER DANGEROUS ‘DESIGN’

CDM design duty highlighted by penalty for specifying inappropriate floor tiles

HSE has recently drawn attention to the prosecution of a ‘major supermarket’ business that was fined after ignoring advice about fitting a particular type of floor tiles in food preparation areas of one of its new stores – despite them being a known slip hazard in other outlets.

Workers reported being more prone to slip on the tiles when food or drink was spilled on them. The local council advised the supermarket to use alternatives during the planning phase, but the advice was ignored

HSE state that:

“This case illustrates that the type of floor surface is a key control measure in reducing the number of slips in the workplace.

It shows the importance of employers taking seriously their duties under the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 and Workplace Regulations, designing out known health and safety risks at a early stage of any planned new build or refurbishment.

The supermarket has now corrected the situation and all their new builds now have appropriate flooring installed.”

Comment

This appears to be reference to a prosecution in May 2010 involving Morrisons, the supermarket chain. The Yorkshire Evening Post reported that the company was fined £12k over unsafe flooring in a new store in Leeds.

The CDM Regulations 2007 provide the opportunity for Local Authorities to become proactively engaged in the enforcement of CDM at the design stage. This involvement is now being actively encouraged by HSE and appropriate training is being provided by to environmental health officers. Case Studies are available.

Designers and clients under CDM 2007 can in future expect more contact from EHO’s on how new workplaces are being designed to reduce risk during use. Also, when an injury occurs EHO’s are likely to track back and review decisions taken by designers.

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