German supermarket firm fined £100k for health and safety breach
The German supermarket chain has been fined £100,000 in Teeside Crown Court following an accident in 2014 during which an employee was left trapped by an insufficiently secured smoking shelter.
The incident took place on a windy afternoon on 21 October, 2014, at Aldi’s Faverdale distribution centre, located in Darlington, when Michael Simpson went out on his lunch break to smoke a cigarette on the benches at the outside smoking point.
A sudden gust of wind caught up an insecurely fitted sheltered smoking area and blew it in the direction of the benches, where it struck Mr Simpson on the back and trapped him momentarily to the floor. He suffered damage to the soft-tissue on his back and says he still suffers from nightmares.
The metal smoking shelter had been removed from its formerly secured place by Wilkinson Maintenance who had been carrying out construction work at the distribution centre. Wilkinson Maintenance did not take any action to secure the shelter in its new place, believing that that was Aldi’s responsibility.
Aldi and Wilkinson Maintenance were both taken to court by Darlington Borough Council for breaching Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. Both companies pleaded guilty to the charge; Aldi was fined £100,000, while Wilkinson Maintenance must pay a £20,000 fine.
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