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Wilko Fine Highlights Importance of Safety Measures

By Nicola Mullineux
12 Jan 2017
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Croner Health and Safety Expert, Stephen Thomas, is urging organisations to consider their Health and Safety obligations and take a proactive approach following the hefty fine imposed on National retailer, Wilko.

The chain store has been fined £2.2 million and costs over £70,000 after a part-time worker was pinned and crushed under a metal cage of paint, leaving her paralysed. Ms Corisande Collins, who was 20 at the time of the incident, was pulling an overloaded roll cage of paint out of a lift when it toppled on her at a store in Leicester in 2013. Leicester Crown Court heard that Wilko admitted failing to ensure the Health and Safety of its employees. The prosecution described it as a "high culpability case" as there was no risk assessment for the lift or the use of the roll cages, as well as "inadequate training and supervision".

Stephen Thomas comments:

“Every organisation regardless of their size should consider Health and Safety a key priority to ensure that they not only avoid illness and injury but also remain an efficient, profitable business. “The injuries suffered by the affected employee have been life changing, which drives home just how essential it is for employers to cover identify, eliminate risks wherever possible or put measures in place for those risks that cannot be removed. “There are over 70,000 reportable workplace accidents each year, but this recent case seems to have captured the attention of the media – one would assume because of the youth of the injured party, the significant £2.2m fine, and the fact that Wilko are a household name. “This case demonstrates the importance of:

  • Suitable and sufficient Risk Assessments covering work activities that involve significant risk
  • Adequate training specifically for the work being carried out
  • Proper supervision by line managers who are aware of the risks involved with the work being carried out.”

Wilko have pleaded guilty to four offences under the Health and Safety at Work Act, and have accepted full responsibility for the consequences of the accident “from the beginning.” It is reported that the store accepts the ruling of the judge and will not appeal the decision. Mr Thomas adds: “For companies failing to fulfil their legal Health and Safety obligations, there are serious and not always obvious consequences other than substantial fines. “Aside from the moral issues involved with the pain and suffering caused, accidents also present a massive drain on a business through ‘hidden’ costs such as disruption, paying for temporary or agency workers, increased insurance costs, legal defence fees, compensation claims, poor business reputation and negative publicity.”

About the Author

Nicola Mullineux

Nicola Mullineux, as Group Content Manager, leads a team of employment law content writers who produce guidance and commentary on employment law, case law and key HR developments. She has written articles for national publications for over 10 years and regularly helps to shape employment of the future by taking part in Government consultations on employment law change.

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Nicola Mullineux

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