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RETAIL GIANT FINED £2.2m OVER FALLING CAGE

Metal roll cage loaded with paint fell and paralysed young worker

Wilko Retail Ltd has been fined £2.2 million after an incident at the company store in Leicester left a young female worker paralysed at the Beaumont Shopping Centre in August 2013.

The company operates from nearly 400 stores across the UK, including four in Leicester with a turnover of £1.4bn.

Corisande Collins, a 20-year-old student working part-time, suffered severe spinal injuries after a metal cage fell onto her. The injuries sustained means she now has to use a wheelchair.

Leicester Crown Court had heard how the heavily laden, top-heavy metal cage (known as a roll cage) loaded with paint tins, fell on the worker whilst she was trying to manoeuvre the cage out from an uneven lift floor.

Incorrect loading, inadequate training and assessment

The court heard how the floor of the main goods lift and passenger lift was not level with the shop floor, and the roll cage which fell on Ms Collins was incorrectly loaded.

Employees were not provided with adequate training or supervision on the safe use of roll cages, or safe use of the lifts involved in the accident

Suitable risk assessments had not been carried out, and the general risk assessment covering roll cages did not cover the hazards involved in manoeuvring the cages on uneven surfaces.

Furthermore, no assessment had been carried out on the manual handling of roll cages, or employees given information on the safe distribution of loads throughout the roll cage.

All businesses need to learn from this tragic case

Wilko Retail Ltd admitted four breaches of health and safety legislation. Passing sentence, His Honour Judge Ebraham Mooncey imposed the £2.2million fine for the first of the four Health and Safety offences – failing to ensure the health, safety and welfare of employees – imposing no separate penalty for the other three related offences. The company was also ordered to pay £70,835 in costs.

Leicester City Council Public Safety Team Manager Govind Mandora added:

“Our team brought this prosecution against Wilko after finding catastrophic health and safety failings at the Beaumont Leys store, which resulted in this devastating accident. The fine imposed today reflects the serious nature of this case.

All businesses need to take heed and learn from this tragic case by taking their health and safety responsibilities seriously.

Simple steps like carrying out adequate risk assessments, proper training and supervision for staff, and properly maintained equipment will help prevent similar accidents happening again.”

Ms Collins, who is now 23, said:

“I never imagined something like this happening to me. Wilko are taking full responsibility for what happened, but this will never make up for the fact I have lost the use of my legs and will spend the rest of my life in a wheelchair.”

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