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The global discount supermarket chain Aldi has been fined £100k following an incident where an employee was injured by an unsecured smoking shelter.

In October 2014, at Aldi’s Faverdale Distribution Centre in Darlington, a gust of wind blew an unsecured smoking shelter into a  group of employees, injuring one.

The smoking shelter had been moved 8 days previous by contractors Wilkinson Maintenance to install a new fire escape and left it unsecured near the staff break area. It was found that neither Aldi or Wilkinson Maintenance took accountability for ensuring that the shelter was made secure after relocation.

The injured employee, Michael Simpson, obtained back and arm injuries from the incident.

Both Aldi and Wilkinson Maintenance pleaded guilty to one charge under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. It was found that Aldi had not checked that contractors Wilkinson Maintenance had the necessary skills or expertise to move or secure the shelter. Wilkinson Maintenance were also unable to produce a risk assessment or method statement for the work carried out.

Aldi were fined £100k and ordered to pay £5000 in costs. Wilkinson Maintenance were fined £20k and also ordered to pay £5000 in costs.

Simon Charlesworth, Health and Safety Consultant at Alcumus SM&MS comments:
“This illustrates the importance of ensuring that all contractors employed to carry out a task, regardless of the size, must demonstrate their competence by providing up to date and relevant risk assessments and method statements.”

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